New Zealand Food Safety is supporting the further recall of a range of products containing tahini imported from Turkey due to the possible presence of Salmonella.
It says Tahini from a Turkish manufacturer was used as an ingredient in a range of New Zealand hummus and tahini products that were recalled from shelves last week.
“As part of our investigation into that recall, we looked at any other product imported from the Turkish manufacturer that was not included in the original recall,” says New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) deputy director-general, Vincent Arbuckle.
“Testing has today identified the possible presence of Salmonella in the Turkish manufacturers’ line of organic tahini imported by Ceres Enterprises Ltd,” he said.
Following receipt of this information, Ceres Enterprises Ltd brand is undertaking a consumer-level recall of the following products:
- Ceres Organics brand Organic Hulled Tahini (300g) with best-before dates of 25/05/2023, 22/08/2023 and 01/08/2024
- Ceres Organics brand Organic Unhulled Tahini (300g) with best-before dates of 25/05/2023 and 22/08/2023
- Ceres Organics brand Organic Hulled (18kg or bulk dispensed) purchased between 13 July 2023 and 10 March 2023 with batch numbers RE2022-00135, RE2022-00050-1 and ORG-3789-211-1
- Ceres Organics brand Organic Unhulled (18kg or bulk dispensed) purchased between 9 June 2023 and 10 March 2023 with batch numbers ORG-3789-211-2 and RE2022-00050-2
Consumers should be aware the product is incorrectly labelled ‘Product of Mexico or Israel’.
Ceres Enterprises Ltd also supplied this product to a small number of food businesses. These businesses are being alerted and NZFS is currently working with them to determine whether they need to recall their products. We expect further recalls will take place, Mr Arbuckle said.
“All products containing this tahini are urgently being removed from shelves and are subject to a consumer recall. No further product from the Turkish manufacturer will be released for sale while the matter is being investigated,” he said.
“Salmonellosis can be serious, so it is important that people do not eat these products.”
Symptoms appear within 12 to 72 hours and include abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Illness usually lasts between 4 and 7 days but, in more severe cases, it can go on for up to 10 days and cause more serious illness.
Anyone who has consumed this product and has severe symptoms – such as dehydration, severe diarrhoea or feeling sick for more than 7 days – should talk to their health professional or call Healthline on 0800 611 116.
“We continue to work with the Te Whatu Ora to identify any cases of salmonellosis related to the recall. As this is a complicated investigative process and genome sequencing may be required to confirm the association, there have been no confirmed cases so far,” said Mr Arbuckle.
“This is a complex recall as it involves imported organic tahini used as an ingredient in other products.”
Food importers are responsible for the safety of the food they bring in to sell in New Zealand.
Tahini is a known high-risk food, and it is implicated in detections of Salmonella from time to time around the world.
“This is why tahini is subject to a more stringent process in New Zealand, requiring food safety border clearance, on top of all importers being legally responsible for assessing and confirming safety of imported food and ingredients before they sell them.”
“As is our usual practice, New Zealand Food Safety will be working to understand how the contamination occurred and prevent its recurrence.
“We have informed food safety authorities in Turkey and will work together with them to identify and manage any further risk,” Mr Arbuckle said.