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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning the public about an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to products containing chia powder. Chia powder is made from small chia seeds that are sprouted and ground into powder. It is often added to health foods like smoothies for its nutritional value. It is sold at many different stores, including specialty health food stores, and online.
Multiple recalls of different brands of products containing chia powder and chia seeds have been issued by companies in the U.S. and Canada.
As of June 9, 2014, 21 illnesses have been reported in 12 U.S. states. Canada has reported similar cases of Salmonella in several provinces. Two patients have been hospitalized.
The recalled chia products linked to illness have a long shelf-life so may still be in people’s pantries without them knowing it.
Consumers should check to see if they have the recalled products in their homes. The CDC urges people who have purchased any of the recalled products to not eat them, and either throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.
Salmonella causes diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Most people recover within four to seven days without treatment. Children younger than five, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.