The exact source of the Salmonella outbreak was pinpointed when officials with the Buncombe County (North Carolina) Health Department and the North Carolina Division of Public Health discovered that an imported starter culture used in the production of the tempeh was itself contaminated. Immediately following this announcement, the importer of the starter culture issued a recall of its product and promptly 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.
In June of 2012, Marler Clark filed a Salmonella lawsuit on behalf of a Florida woman who was hospitalized with a Salmonella paratyphi infection she contracted after consuming tempeh produced by Smiling Hara Tempeh. The firm filed a second Salmonella lawsuit shortly thereafter.