Officials: Maryland company distributed tainted starter

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Officials say a Maryland company distributed an ingredient that triggered a salmonella outbreak that’s made almost 60 Buncombe County residents sick.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported the state Department of Health and Human Services confirms that a culture starter for tempeh had the type of salmonella that caused the outbreak.

Authorities say Tempeh Online sold the starter culture to Smiling Hara Tempeh, which made the bean product in Candler. Tempeh Online is based in Rockville, Md.

The Associated Press couldn’t find a phone listing for Tempeh Online. The newspaper said a man answering the phone number listed on the company’s website said Monday the number was wrong. The website later went down.

An N.C. Department of Agriculture spokesman identified the distributor as Tempeh Online.

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