Hazelnuts Recalled Due to Salmonella Risk
Whole Foods Announces Recall Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination
Dec. 22, 2009 -- The FDA says an Oregon company is recalling 114,350 pounds
of shelled hazelnuts that have "the potential" to be contaminated with
salmonella, an organism that can cause serious illness, even death.
The nuts, also known as filberts, have been distributed across the U.S. and
Canada, according to a news release by Willamette Shelling Inc. of Newberg,
Ore., that was posted on the FDA's web site.
Ben Mitchell, president of Willamette Shelling and manager of Willamette
Filbert Growers, tells WebMD that Willamette Shelling recalled "a total of
114,350 pounds" of shelled hazelnuts because of possible salmonella
contamination. No illnesses have been reported.
Whole Foods, the giant grocery chain based in Austin, Texas, has also
announced in a news release on the FDA web site that it is a recalling an
unspecified amount of raw organic hazelnuts. Libba Letton, a spokesperson for
Whole Foods, says in an email that the hazelnuts being recalled originated with
Willamette Shelling and Willamette Filbert Growers. The recall covers
hazelnuts sold through its stores in California, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico,
Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
Mitchell tells WebMD that Willamette Shelling sold the recalled nuts to four
distributing companies, including Willamette Filbert Growers, of which he is
Besides Whole Foods, Mitchell says Willamette's nuts are on the market under
the brand names Kunze Farms, Evonuk Oregon Hazelnuts, Canadian Hazelnuts, and
Whole Foods says in its news release that the organic raw hazelnuts it is
recalling were contaminated with salmonella, but Mitchell tells WebMD there is
no evidence of that. He says only one batch at Willamette Filbert had tested
positive for salmonella, but those were not sold to Whole Foods.
Recall Is Precautionary
Mitchell tells WebMD that the latest recall is precautionary but necessary
to ensure public health.
Whole Foods says in its announcement on the FDA web site that it also is
recalling non-organic dry roasted hazelnuts sold in bulk through its stores in
California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington and non-organic raw hazelnuts, or
filberts, sold through its stores in Oregon and Washington.
"These hazelnuts should not be consumed," Whole Foods warns in its
statement. "No illnesses have been reported at this time."
Whole Foods says "the potential for salmonella was discovered during a
routine product sampling at the plant where the hazelnuts were shelled." It
says salmonella can cause "serious and sometimes fatal infections in young
children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems."
Whole Foods customers who have bought the recalled product since Oct. 12 may
return the nuts for a full refund, or contact the company at 512-542-0656, or
visit its web site.
Healthy people infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea,
sometimes bloody, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, according to
information on the FDA web site.