They have been infected with the same strain of Salmonella Dublin, according to the National Reference Center for Salmonella at the Institut Pasteur.
Santé publique France and the General Directorate of Food (DGAL) have identified a link between eating raw milk Morbier cheese made by the company Jean Perrin, based in the Cléron commune of Doubs in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region and those sick. Investigations with the producer are underway to identify the cause of contamination and take corrective actions.
SA Perrin has withdrawn from sale and recalled several lots and dates of Morbier cheese.
Products are sold in the traditional and self-service departments of supermarkets throughout France and can be identified by the approval number FR 25-155-001 CE on the cheese or packaging.
Authorities advised people that have the potentially affected products not to consume them and to take them back to the place of purchase.
Nine hospitalized and three deaths
Eight men and five women with a median age of 72 have fallen ill from late November 2019 up to early January this year. Cases are spread across seven regions of France and nine people needed hospital treatment.
Three people have died but it is not clear what role salmonellosis played in the deaths, according to Santé publique France.
Most cases reported having eaten raw milk Morbier cheese bought in different stores before their symptoms began. Analysis by DGAL of cheese purchases from loyalty cards of the cases made it possible to identify that the Morbier came from the same supplier.
French authorities are also investigating a foodborne outbreak suspected to be caused by Salmonella Enteritidis in organic eggs from Italy.
Around the same time the alert was posted on the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), Olivero Claudio recalled organic eggs in Italy due to potential Salmonella Enteritidis contamination.
Santé publique France, Olivero Claudio and the Italian Ministry of Health have as yet not responded to questions about the outbreak from Food Safety News.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. Older adults, children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop a severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.