May 26, 2024

Long History of Nut and Nut Product Outbreaks

In the wake of the current E. coli outbreak linked to organic walnuts, there is a long history of nut and nut product outbreaks. Nuts are an agricultural product, and just like leafy greens, herbs, and berries, can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. And nuts, like other types of produce, are often eaten without a consumer “kill step,” in other words, cooking.

Long History of Nut and Nut Product Outbreaks

History of Nut and Nut Product Outbreaks

The current E. coli O157 outbreak allegedly linked to Gibson Farms organic walnuts and walnut pieces has sickened at least 12 people in two states, California and Washington. Seven of those patients have been hospitalized, and two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. The walnuts have been recalled.

In 2022, a Salmonella Senftenberg outbreak linked to Jif Peanut Butter sickened at least 12 people in 17 states. The hospitalization rate for that outbreak was 31%. Several types of Jif peanut butter were recalled in relation to this outbreak.

In 2021, a Salmonella outbreak linked to Jules Cashew Brie sickened at least 20 people in four states. Five people were hospitalized. That product is made by soaking raw cashews, then blending them with salt and inoculating them with a safe bacteria that turns the product into a substance that is very similar to brie and other soft cheeses.

Yes, coconut is a type of nut. In 2o18, a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak linked to dried coconut sickened at least 14 people in nine states. Organic Go Smile! Raw Coconut, Go Smiles Dried Coconut Raw, and Natural Grocers Coconut Smiles Organic were recalled.

Also in 2018, a Salmonella outbreak was linked to Coconut Tree frozen shredded coconut. At least 25 people in nine states were sickened, and six people were hospitalized.

In 2017, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to I. M. Healthy SoyNut Butter sickened at least 32 people in 12 states. Twelve patients were hospitalized, and nine developed HUS. Most of those patients were children. The nut butter was served in daycare centers and schools as an alternative to peanut butter.

In 2015, JEM Nut Butter Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) outbreak sickened 11 people in nine states. The recalled products were made from sprouted hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews.

In 2014, a Salmonella Branderup outbreak was linked to recalled nSpired nut butters sickened at least six people in five states. The butters, made from almonds and peanuts, were recalled.

In 2012, a Salmonella outbreak linked to Sunland’s Trader Joe’s Valencia Peanut Butter sickened at least 42 people in 20 states. Most of the patients were children under the age of four. Ten patients were hospitalized.

And in 2008-2009, a huge Salmonella outbreak allegedly linked to Peanut Corporation of America King Nut peanut butter sickened at least 714 people in 46 states. Twenty-four percent of patients were hospitalized, and the infection may have contributed to nine deaths. Criminal charges were filed in relation to this outbreak.

Protect Yourself and Your Family

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do to prevent these illnesses because pathogenic bacteria do not change the taste, appearance, smell, or texture of foods. It’s important that you stay informed about recall notices and outbreak reports. The FDA and CDC will release information about problematic products.

And when a recall or outbreak is announced, it’s important that you check your pantry, fridge, and freezer and discard any recalled items. Then clean your kitchen and appliances to destroy any pathogens.

It’s also important to know the symptoms of a food poisoning infection so you can get help as soon as possible for the best possible outcome.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a food poisoning infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors.

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