The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is warning New Zealand consumers that some brands of chia seed products from the United States and Canada may contain Salmonella bacteria.
If consumed, these products may cause gastroenteritis symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain.
Chia seed products are typically sold through health food stores.
MPI’s Principal Adviser, Public Health, Dr Craig Thornley says MPI has been informed of the situation by international food safety networks. The implicated products are (dates in US format of month/day/year):
Navitas Naturals Organic Sprouted Chia Powder – 8oz/227g – all dates up to and including 11/22/2015
Navitas Naturals Omega Blend Sprouted Smoothie Mix – 8oz/227g – all dates up to and including 11/5/2015
Williams-Sonoma Omega 3 Smoothie Mixer – 8oz/227g – all dates up to and including 10/31/2015
“A small amount of these products have been imported to New Zealand. MPI is aware of a single direct importer and distributor for the products in New Zealand and this company has initiated a recall of the products. It has supplied to retailers in Auckland and Northland only,” Dr Thornley says.
“However, as the products can also be imported directly via the internet MPI is putting out a general food safety alert.”
Dr Thornley says most recent information indicates that there have been 17 cases of illness linked to the products reported in the USA and 34 in Canada. Some cases have required hospitalisation. No deaths have been reported from either the USA or Canada.
Consumers should not eat any of these products and either dispose of them or return them to the retailer.
If you have consumed any of these chia seed products and have any health concerns please seek medical advice from your doctor or call Healthline on 0800 611 116.