A Salmonella food poisoning outbreak linked to hazelnuts sold at Schmidt Farm and Nursery along Oregon Route 18 has been announced by the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division and the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Officials are telling consumers who purchased the nuts there to throw them away immediately.
Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director of the Public Health Division’s Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section said in a statement, “people who have hazelnuts from the farm stand at Schmidt Farm and Nursery should toss them out right away.”
Five people are sick with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. The illnesses began between October 15 and December 13, 2016. When interviewed, three of those sickened said they bought hazelnuts from the Schmidt Farm and Nursery stand in McMinnville. The fourth ate hazelnuts from an unlabeled bag of partially shelled nuts. A fifth case was linked to the other four after testing positive for the same Salmonella strain.
Tests performed on nuts purchased at the farm identified the outbreak string of Salmonella. All of those sickened were adults. None were hospitalized and all have recovered.
Schmidt Farm and Nursery sells most of its hazelnuts though wholesalers. Stephanie Page, the agriculture department’s director of food safety and animal services said, “wholesalers have steps in place that kill any Salmonella on the hazelnuts they handle before the nuts reach consumers. To date, we have no indication there were any issues with this part of the process. The concern in this case is with hazelnuts bought at the farm stand.”
The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea that may be bloody, abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, and vomiting. Most people get sick 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. And most people recover without medical care, but some do get so sick they must be hospitalized.
Raw or undercooked poultry, meats, and eggs are the most common vehicles of the Salmonella bacteria. Any foods sold on a farm can be contaminated when the food is exposed to feces from an animal carrying the bacteria or to its environment.