Some people like mushrooms, viewing them as earthy, umami-laden woodland treasures that work wonderfully as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes. To other people, they’re a repulsive fungus that don’t belong anywhere near a pizza.
Well, today is a time of vindication for the mushroom haters of America, and a time for those who eat Wood ear mushrooms to (temporarily) think twice. That’s because the CDC has issued a salmonella warning, recalling certain dried wood ear mushrooms sent to restaurants.
Specifically, the issue lies with Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc.’s dried wood ear mushrooms sold to restaurants in six packs of five pound bags. The offending fungi was labeled as Shirakiku brand Black Fungus (Kikurage) with UPC barcode 00074410604305, item #60403. Any dried wood ear mushrooms fitting that exact description and labelling should be thrown away, the CDC says, and the company itself has issued a recall.
The good news is that the outbreak doesn’t seem to be too severe so far. According to the most recently-available CDC data, 41 were infected by this strain of Salmonella across ten states, resulting in four hospitalizations and zero deaths as of yet. Four particular illness clusters were linked to restaurants serving ramen, with eight of nine people linked to those clusters self-reporting that they ate ramen with wood ear mushrooms.
For now, the CDC’s investigation into the outbreak is ongoing, but maybe just hit pause on the wood ear mushrooms for the moment. Dining at restaurants is already more stressful than it normally is, so perhaps it’s best to take potentially catching salmonella out of the equation for the time being.