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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Wonderful Pistachios Tied to Nationwide Salmonella Outbreak

small-map-03-07-16CDC is collaborating with public health officials in multiple states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo infections.

A total of 11 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo have been reported from 9 states. A list of states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page. States reporting illnesses are: Alabama 1, Arizona 2, Connecticut 1, Georgia 1, Michigan 1, Minnesota 1, North Dakota 1, Virginia 1, Washington 2.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 12, 2015 to February 9, 2016. Ill people range in age from 9 years to 69, with a median age of 31. Seventy-three percent of ill people are male. Among 9 ill people with available information, 2 reported being hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Collaborative investigative efforts of state, local, and federal public health and regulatory officials indicate that pistachios produced by Wonderful Pistachios of Lost Hills, California are a likely source of this outbreak.

Recent laboratory testing isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo from samples of raw pistachios collected from Paramount Farms, where Wonderful pistachios are grown.

On March 9, 2016, Wonderful Pistachios voluntarily recalled a limited number of flavors and sizes of in-shell and shelled pistachios because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. The pistachios were sold under the brand names Wonderful, Paramount Farms, and Trader Joe’s and were sold nationwide and in Canada.

According to a CDC report in 2004, Paramount Farms was linked to a previous Salmonella outbreak tied to raw almonds that sickened at least 29.  On May 12, 2004, the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory identified a cluster of five patients infected with Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis.  The five patients were from four Oregon counties; their onsets of illness occurred during February-April 2004. A subsequent investigation identified a total of 29 patients in 12 states and Canada since at least September 2003. Seven patients were hospitalized.

On May 18, 2004 Paramount announced a recall of all raw almonds sold under the Kirkland Signature, Trader Joe’s, and Sunkist labels. Costco mailed 1,107,552 letters to members known to have purchased the recalled product in the United States. The recall was expanded on May 22, 2004 to include nuts sold in bulk to approximately 50 other commercial customers, some of whom repackaged almonds for sale under other brand names. In addition to sales in the United States, almonds were exported to France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan, the United Kingdom.  13,000,000 pounds of almonds were recalled.