Salmonella cases trigger almond recall

May 24, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned consumers to check the source of any raw almonds in their possession in the light of a recall based on a possible link to recent Salmonella enteritidis infections.

Before eating any almonds having a "best before" date of Aug 21, 2004, or later, consumers should check with the store where they bought them to see if the almonds came from Paramount Farms, Lost Hills, Calif., the FDA said. Any almonds subject to the recall should be returned to the store.

Paramount Farms announced a limited recall on May 18 of almonds sold under the Kirkland Signature, Trader Joe's, and Sunkist brands. The recall was expanded later, the FDA said. State and federal health authorities are aware of about 18 reports of S enteritidis infections that may be related to the almonds under recall, the agency said. The FDA statement didn't say where the cases occurred.

In the initial recall notice, which the FDA published on its Web site, Paramount Farms said the FDA had identified seven cases of S enteritidis infection in Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and Utah. In five cases, patients had eaten almonds bought from Costco Wholesale Inc. in Oregon. All seven patients recovered, the company said. The notice said no Salmonella organisms had been found in the company's products.

Paramount Farms distributed the almonds in bulk or packages to brokers, distributors, and grocery store chains nationwide, and the products were sold to consumers in a variety of package sizes with various brand names, according to the FDA. The almonds also were exported to Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, France, England, and Italy.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal illness in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weak immune systems, the FDA noted. In healthy people, Salmonella often causes fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

The recent cases appear to be only the second instance of salmonellosis associated with almonds. In 2001, cases in several Canadian provinces were linked to raw almonds from another California producer, according to reports by Health Canada.

See also:

May 21 FDA announcement
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2004/ucm108303.htm

Notice of May 18 recall
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ArchiveRecalls/2004/ucm111603.htm

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