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Organic bulk walnuts sold in natural food stores tied to dangerous E. coli outbreak

By JONEL ALECCIA, Associated PRess
Published: April 30, 2024, 5:21pm

At least a dozen people in California and Washington have been sickened with E. coli food poisoning linked to organic walnuts sold in bulk in 19 states, U.S. health officials said Tuesday. The nuts were sold in natural food and co-op stores such as Whole Foods and Market of Choice.

Seven people have been hospitalized and two have developed a dangerous kidney disease known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Gibson Farms Inc. of Hollister, California, has recalled potentially affected walnuts with expiration dates between May 21, 2025 and June 7, 2025, the Food and Drug Administration said. Some stores may have repackaged bulk walnut pieces into clamshells or bags. The FDA has a list of stores where the walnuts were sold.

The nuts are potentially contaminated with dangerous E. coli bacteria that can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, including bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms start three to four days after consuming the food. Most people recover within five to seven days.

Consumers who bought organic walnuts from bulk containers should check to see if they’re part of the recall. Recalled nuts should not be sold or served, the CDC said. Wash items and surfaces that may have come in contact with the nuts using hot soapy water or a dishwasher. Contact a health care provider about any symptoms.