Tests confirm Salmonella in Smiling Hara Tempeh as outbreak worsens
Posted: May 1st, 2012 - 12:21pm
A North Carolina maker of fermented bean product confirmed Monday evening that its product tested positive for salmonella. as an outbreak caused by the bacteria worsens.
Smiling Hara Tempeh, which makes a soy, black bean and black-eyed pea version of the product, according to its website, had pulled the food from shelves earlier Monday.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that tests by the N.C. Department of Agriculture confirmed the bacteria was present in a sample collected from a routine inspection by the Food and Drug Protection Division, according to a statement from Smiling Hara Tempeh. Further testing is being done, it added.
The tempeh is sold to more than 30 local stores and restaurants, including Earth Fare supermarket and the Laughing Seed restaurant downtown, the website says.
The number of salmonella cases rose by five over the weekend to 34, officials with the Buncombe County Health Department said Monday.
The owners of the tempeh company, which lists its address as Asheville, could not be reached by phone or email Monday afternoon.
The tempeh company shares a kitchen, Blue Ridge Food Ventures in Candler, with 20-40 other local food producers, making everything from pretzels to hot sauce.
The state-created economic development group Advantage West oversees the kitchen used to help small local businesses.
Advantage West CEO Scott Hamilton stressed that there was no direct link with the tempeh and the bacterial outbreak.