On May 1, 2012, in the face of a burgeoning Salmonella paratyphi B outbreak in Asheville, North Carolina, Buncombe County health officials in North Carolina announced a recall of unpasteurized tempeh produced by Asheville-based Smiling Hara Tempeh. Later that week, health officials confirmed the tempeh to be the source of an outbreak that would grow to at least 88 cases, including 8 hospitalizations, across 4 states. With 64 illnesses, residents in the Asheville-area saw the brunt of the outbreak.
On May 9, health officials with Buncombe County and the North Carolina Division of Public Health announced that an imported starter culture used in the production of the tempeh was the exact source of the Salmonella contamination. Following the announcement, the supplier of the starter culture, Rockville, Maryland-based Tempeh Online (also known as indonesianfoodmart.com), issued a recall and quickly shut down all of its websites.
According to the Buncome County Department of Health, some Salmonella outbreak victims had eaten tempeh, others became ill through person-to-person contact with another person who was ill with Salmonella, and still other cases were under further investigation to determine how they became ill with Salmonella.
Food poisoning attorneys at Marler Clark represent several victims in this outbreak. On June 2012, the firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Florida woman who was hospitalized with a Salmonella infection after consuming contaminated tempeh produced by Smiling Hara Tempeh.