New Zealand strengthens tahini controls after outbreak

Food Safety News

Authorities in New Zealand have tightened the import rules around tahini and halva from Syria following a recall and outbreak.

An outbreak of Salmonella Kintambo earlier this year involved three patients who had consumed sesame-based products from Syria. Two people were hospitalized. Sequencing of clinical isolates showed cases were closely genetically related and had the same sequence type as in an ongoing European outbreak linked to the same type of products.

In July, Middle East recalled specific batches of Algota brand Sesame Tahini because of the possible presence of Salmonella.

New Zealand Food Safety testing of tahini and halva products found Salmonella Kintambo, Salmonella Amsterdam and Salmonella Orion.

The agency has amended the sampling plan for such high risk products. Changes mean all consignments of crushed sesame seed products, such as tahini and halva, must be sampled and tested for Salmonella, when exported from Syria or if they originate from the country.

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