FDA Issues Salmonella Warning for Wegmans Pine Nuts

Last week, we wrote that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of 5,000 pounds of Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. Turkish Pine Nuts over concerns about potential Salmonella contamination.

The FDA is now warning consumers not to eat Wegmans’ bulk Turkish Pine Nuts, noting that 43 cases of Salmonella poisoning—salmonellosis –have been linked to the potentially contaminated Wegman’s Pine Nuts. The Salmonella Enteritidis is involved.

The Turkish Pine Nuts are packaged in unlabeled plastic bulk containers at Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. as well as in food items Wegmans may have prepared using the bulk Turkish Pine Nuts, such as pesto, salads, or baked goods. This recall does not include prepackaged pine nuts sold at Wegmans.

Wegmans is voluntarily recalling about 5,000 pounds of Turkish Pine Nuts sold in the bulk foods department of most Wegmans stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland between July 1 and October 18, 2011. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at least 43 illnesses have been reported in California, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington; no deaths have been reported.

The recall was initiated as a result of a multi-state outbreak investigation being conducted by the CDC. Wegmans is collaborating with the CDC, the FDA, and state and local public health and agriculture officials on this matter and using customers’ Shoppers Club card, Wegmans placed automated phone calls alerting impacted customers about the recall Wegmans has placed on the Turkish Pine Nuts.

The FDA is advising consumers to review their homes, including refrigerators and freezers, for the recalled Turkish pine nuts. Consumers should not eat these pine nuts and should throw away or return the recalled Turkish Pine Nuts to Wegmans for a refund. Consumers experiencing symptoms consistent with salmonellosis should consult their health care provider. Wegmans’ consumer affairs department can be reached, toll free, at 1.800.WEGMANS (1.800.934.6267) Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).

According to Wegmans, the recalled Turkish Pine Nuts, which were imported from Turkey, were distributed by Sunrise Commodities of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The FDA is reviewing the supply chain to determine if any other retailers may have received the recalled Turkish Pine Nuts and if additional recalls are necessary.

The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever with symptoms manifesting, usually, within six to 72 hours. Additional symptoms include chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting that can last up to seven days. The illness usually lasts four to seven days; however, in some, the organism can invade the bloodstream, becoming so severe that hospitalization is required. Sometimes, infection with the Salmonella pathogen can result in, and produce more, severe or chronic illnesses. Salmonella, can be dangerous, sometimes deadly, leaving sufferers with serious life-long health issues.

Salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial food borne illnesses, can be especially life threatening to those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or who are undergoing chemotherapy.

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