Tofu Salmonella Outbreak is a First
A 2021 Salmonella outbreak linked to ready-to-eat (RTE) seasoned tofu in Canada marked the first time tofu has been identified as the source of a Salmonella outbreak. Tofu has been implicated in outbreaks caused by other pathogens, but there are no published reports of tofu-associated nontyphoidal Salmonella outbreaks.
Thirty-eight people in Ontario were sickened with Salmonella Typhimurium between May 2021 and July 2021. Five people were hospitalized.
An investigation of the manufacturing facility revealed that unsanitary conditions may have led to cross-contamination of the tofu, and that failure to heat the tofu to a sufficient temperature likely resulted in the failure to kill the pathogen.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who conducted a study of this outbreak say it highlights the need for improved processing and handling guidance for plant-based proteins as demand for them increases worldwide.