Wonderful brand pistachios have been linked to a nine-state Salmonella Montevideo outbreak that has sickened 11 people, hospitalizing two of them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A recall has been issued for pistachios sold under the brand names Wonderful, Paramount Farms, and Trader Joe’s, consumers who have purchased the recalled nuts should not eat them.
State and federal health officials have used DNA “fingerprinting” to identify case patients, who range in age from 9 years to 69 year old. Those sickened reported onset of illness dates ranging from December 12, 2015 to February 9, 2016. The outbreak strain has also been isolated from samples of raw pistachios collected from Paramount Farms, where Wonderful pistachios are grown.
Health officials interviewed nine of those sickened, eight of them reported eating pistachios in the week before illness started. Five of them identified Wonderful as the brand of pistachios they ate before becoming ill.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, which usually set in between six and 72 hours after exposure and last about a week, include nausea, fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea that can be bloody. Those at elevated risk of infection are children, seniors and people with compromised immune systems.
For some people with Salmonella infections, serious complications can occur if the bacteria moves from the intestinal tract to the bloodstream. Among other things, this more severe form of a Salmonella infection can produce arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.
A Salmonella infection is confirmed through stool sample testing. Positive samples are tested further and their DNA “fingerprints” are uploaded to PulseNet a national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agencies coordinated by CDC. Fingerprints that match help health officials identify outbreaks. Consumers who ate the recalled nuts and have symptoms consistent with a Salmonella infection should see a doctor and mention exposure.
The recalled nuts, sold nationwide and in Canada under the brand names Wonderful, Paramount Farms, and Trader Joe’s, were packaged in bags and boxes. They include Roasted No Salt Inshell Pistachios, Roasted Salted Inshell Pistachios, Roasted Salted Shelled Pistachios, Roasted Sweet Chili Pistachios, Roasted Salt and Pepper Inshell Pistachios50% Less Salt Dry Roasted & Salted Inshell Pistachios, Dry Roasted & Unsalted Inshell Pistachios; and Dry Roasted & Salted Inshell Pistachios. Click the recall link above for detailed product information.
Cases have been reported from Alabama (1), Arizona (1), Connecticut (1), Georgia (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), North Dakota (1), Virginia (1) and Washington (2). Seventy three percent of the case patients are male, the median age is 31.
Nuts are a fairly common source of Salmonella outbreaks. In December 2015, a Salmonella outbreak was linked to raw sprouted nut spreads. In 2014, nut butters made by nSpired Natural Foods were linked to a five-state Salmonella Braenderup outbreak that sickened 6 people. The recalled products were sold under the brand names Trader Joe’s, Kroger, MaraNatha, Arrowhead Mills, and Whole Foods. Cases were reported from Connecticut (1), Iowa (1), New Mexico (1), Tennessee (1), and Texas (2).
In 2012, a Salmonella outbreak linked to tainted peanut butter produced by Sunland Inc., then the nation’s largest producer of organic peanut butter, sickened 42 people. Those products were sold under the brand names Target’s Archer Farms, Earth Balance, Safeway’s Open Nature, fresh & easy, heinen’s, Joseph’s, Natural Value, Dogsbutter, Earth Balance, Late July, Joseph’s, Naturally More, Open Nature, Peanut Power, Serious Food Silly Prices, Newman’s Own, Harry & David, Trader Joe’s, Sunland, and Snaclite. And in 2008 and 2009, peanut butter produced Peanut Corporation of America sickened m0re than 700 people, 116 were hospitalized. Seven people died.