The FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, is investigating an ongoing multistate outbreak of Salmonella Stanley infections likely linked to wood ear mushrooms imported by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. of Santa Fe Springs, CA. Wood ear mushrooms are a dried mushroom, also commonly labelled or referred to as Kikurage, Dried Black Fungus, Dried Fungus, or Mu’er/Mu Er/Mu-Err.
In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. According to the CDC, of 18 people with information, 16 (89%) reported eating ramen at a restaurant in the week before their illness started. Four illness clusters were identified at restaurants serving ramen in three states. Eight (89%) of the nine ill people linked to restaurant clusters reported eating wood ear mushrooms or ramen containing wood ear mushrooms in the week before their illness started.
As part of this investigation, the California Department of Public Health collected a sample of wood ear mushrooms, imported by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc., from one of the restaurants where ill patients reported eating. This sample was reported positive for the presence of Salmonella. This sample is undergoing genetic testing, or whole genome sequencing, to determine if the Salmonella present in the sample has the same genetic fingerprint as the outbreak strain. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. acted quickly upon being notified of the positive test result and recalled all wood ear mushrooms within shelf life on September 23, 2020. This product was labeled as Shirakiku brand Black Fungus (Kikurage) with UPC Code 00074410604305, imported from China. Product was distributed in six packs of five-pound bags to restaurants in AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NV, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI, and Canada.
Wood ear mushrooms imported by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. were only sold to restaurants and were not available directly to consumers. Although these items have been recalled, concerned or high-risk individuals should check with their restaurant to confirm that any wood ear mushrooms that have been used or are being used are not part of this recall.
Restaurants should not sell or serve recalled wood ear mushrooms distributed by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. Additionally, restaurants that received recalled products should use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces that may have come in contact with recalled product, to reduce the risk of cross contamination.
Restaurants should discard and not sell or serve wood ear mushrooms if they cannot tell where they came from.
Read the full update here.