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A Walnut Recall Has Been Linked to a Multistate E. Coli Outbreak



Before you sprinkle some nuts onto your oatmeal or yogurt, you might want to give that bag a closer look: A bunch of walnuts have just been recalled, according to the FDA—and they may be behind an active E. coli outbreak that’s already sickened a dozen people, the CDC reports.

On April 30, Gibson Farms voluntarily recalled their Organic Light Halves and Pieces shelled walnuts—which were packaged in 25-pound bulk boxes and sent to distributors in California and Washington—due to possible contamination with E. coli 0157:H7. According to an FDA outbreak investigation, the organic walnut halves and pieces were sold in 19 states, including Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The nuts were shipped between October 1, 2023 and April 24, 2024; they have expiration dates of May 21, 2025 and June 7, 2025 and lot codes 3325-043 and 3341-501. While the walnuts were primarily sold in bulk bins at co-ops and natural food stores (including Whole Foods), the FDA warns that some businesses may have repackaged them in plastic containers or bags—so even if you didn’t scoop them yourself, your nuts might not be in the clear.

The same day Gibson Farms issued its recall, the CDC released a food safety alert linking an E.coli outbreak to the company’s walnuts. So far, 12 illnesses have been reported across Washington and California, and seven people have been hospitalized. Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a rare complication of E. coli infection that affects how your blood clots and can damage your kidneys.

In most cases, though, E.coli infection isn’t that severe. Most folks who get sick will experience a nasty but self-limiting GI illness (think: bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and severe stomach cramps) that develops about three to four days after eating the affected food and gets better without treatment in less than a week. That said, the infection can be really serious and life-threatening, especially for young kids, adults over 65, or people with a compromised immune system. That’s because it can cause HUS—like we’ve seen in this current recall—or sepsis, a serious infection in your blood.

If you recently bought bulk walnuts in any of those states, you can check this list to see if your store was one of the locations that received the product. If so, throw out what you’ve got left and give any surfaces that may have touched the walnuts a good cleaning with hot soapy water, or pop any containers that held them in the dishwasher, the CDC advises. Not sure if your nuts were included? It’s better to toss any you’re uncertain about just to be safe, the organization says.

If you still have any questions or want more info, you can contact Gibson Farms: Try Veronica Cheatham at 831-637-3512 or email [email protected] between 8:30 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. PST Monday through Friday. In the meantime, if you have to scrap your walnuts and are left with a sad, unadorned container of yogurt, might we suggest a whole bunch of (nutless) ways to doctor up your cup instead?



Source: Self

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