Health Ministry says origin of salmonella in Sabar hummus 'unknown'

The Health Ministry said that Sabar regularly conducts tests for salmonella in the factory. It noted that over 200 salmonella tests were done just in the last month.

 An Illustration of Tzabar Hummus and Thina of the Osem Company in Jerusalem in Jerusalem on November 29, 2022 (photo credit: Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)
An Illustration of Tzabar Hummus and Thina of the Osem Company in Jerusalem in Jerusalem on November 29, 2022
(photo credit: Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

Israel's Health Ministry was unable to determine the origin of salmonella found in Sabar's Abu Marwan hummus, the ministry said on Wednesday evening.

A team of ministry officials conducted an examination of Sabar's Kiryat Gat factory on Wednesday after the company recalled its Hummus products from Israeli shelves. No irregularities were found, it said, according to preliminary reports.

Furthermore, the Health Ministry said that Sabar regularly conducts tests for salmonella in the factory. It noted that over 200 salmonella tests were done just in the last month.

Sabar claimed that tahini, which is used as a raw material to make hummus, is highly likely to contain the salmonella found in its products. However, the ministry said that claim could not be proven in a laboratory. 

The Health Ministry instructed the Sabar factory to examine other potential sources of infection.

 Salmonella bacteria, a common cause of foodborne disease, invade an immune cell. (credit: NIAID/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS) Salmonella bacteria, a common cause of foodborne disease, invade an immune cell. (credit: NIAID/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

More cases of salmonella infections in Israel

Earlier this year, Strauss Group's Elite chocolate factory thousands of products after several samples of salmonella were discovered in the factory’s production line in February. As per the ministry's probe, pigeons apparently entered the factory through holes in the roof.

Following a halt in the factory's operations for some four months after the bacteria was discovered, the Health Ministry approved the Strauss plant's return to activity following a sanitary and technological audit in August.

Tnuva's milk powder production line was also found to be contaminated with salmonella after a test came back positive for the bacteria in May.