Five European countries have reported salmonellosis infections linked to the consumption of sesame-based products such as tahini and halva imported from Syria.
Up to 121 people have been affected since January 2019 in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. Several types of Salmonella are linked to the outbreak – S. Mbandaka, S. Havana, S. Orion, S. Amsterdam, S. Senftenberg, and S. Kintambo.
The products are sealed and ready to be consumed, which suggests that contamination occurred before they reached the European market.
Control measures on the involved batches have been implemented since August 2020. Nevertheless, cases were still being reported as recently as September 2021. This could be because the products have a long shelf life and are being stored in people’s homes.
EFSA and ECDC scientists concluded that there is still a risk of new Salmonella infections related to these products in the EU/EEA.