Trader Joe’s pulls fresh basil in 29 states after salmonella outbreak

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Trader Joe’s has pulled Infinite Herbs-branded basil from its shelves in 29 states after a salmonella outbreak has left 12 people sickened.

The organic basil was sold in 2.5-ounce clamshell-style plastic containers, according to a Wednesday statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The health organization said people who bought the basil shouldn’t eat it, but should instead throw it out or return it to Trader Joe’s. 

Trader Joe’s has pulled basil sold in 29 states from its shelves after a dozen people fell ill from salmonella. FDA

Seven of the 12 people who were sickened after eating the basil had bought or likely bought the product at Trader Joe’s, according to the statement. Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that the people who have fallen ill are spread across seven states: Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

One person has been hospitalized, the agencies added. 

Salmonella poisoning can cause serious illness, especially in young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of infection usually occur within 12 hours to three days after eating contaminated food, and include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.

In a statement posted to its website, Infinite Herbs CEO Grego Berliavsky said the company has voluntarily recalled some 2.5-ounce packages of fresh organic basil sold between February 1 through April 6 with UPC 8 18042 02147 7 because of the potential it could be contaminated with salmonella.

“I am heartbroken at the thought that any item we sold may have caused illness or discomfort,” Berliavsky wrote.

The label from the basil sold at Trader Joe’s that has been linked to a multi-state outbreak of salmonella. FDA

The basil has been pulled from Trader Joe’s stores in 29 states as well as Washington, D.C., and should no longer be available for sale. The states impacted are:

  • Alabama
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvannia
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

Trader Joe’s said in a statement that people who purchased the basil may return it to the store for a refund. Customers can also call Trader Joe’s at (626) 599-3817 or email customer service here.

Aimee Picchi

Aimee Picchi is the associate managing editor for CBS MoneyWatch, where she covers business and personal finance. She previously worked at Bloomberg News and has written for national news outlets including USA Today and Consumer Reports.

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