Health officials in Buncombe County said Friday that tests have confirmed that tempeh is the source of the recent outbreak of salmonella infections.
During a news conference, officials said that 46 cases of the illness have been reported, and seven of those people were hospitalized.
Bacteria found in the Smiling Hara tempeh, which was voluntarily recalled last week, is matched to the salmonella paratyphi B that is causing the illness.
Salmonella is a family of bacteria, but the strain at the center of this outbreak is found in the intestines of humans, officials said. They said it can be spread from person to person or by eating food or drinking water contaminated with feces of an infected person.
Symptoms commonly associated with this infection may include diarrhea that may be bloody, high fever, headache and abdominal pain.
Officials said Friday that they have contacted all food establishments under their jurisdiction to verify that the recalled tempeh has been removed, but new cases are still being reported because the bacteria is being transmitted from person to person.
Smiling Hara said in a news release Friday that it is awaiting tests of the raw ingredients used to make the tempeh to determine the source of the contamination.
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