Latest Salmonella Outbreak Forces Recall on Pine Nuts

By: Michele Wolfson

Food poisoning bacteria sent shivers through the American public this summer when contaminated cantaloupe lined the shelves of supermarkets, causing a reported 28 deaths and counting. Now we have another outbreak to watch out for- pine nuts. Turkish pine nuts sold in bulk at Wegman's have been linked to a salmonella outbreak that has made 42 people ill in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Arizona, Georgia, Maryland, and New York. New York has the greatest number of cases, with 26 people reported ill, the CDC said in a statement. Last week, Wegman's recalled 5,000 pounds of pine nuts.

No deaths have been reported, and one person who was hospitalized locally has been released, health department spokesman John Ricci said Thursday. The pine nuts were not sold at Wegmans' new store in Northborough, Mass., and possibly other stores with small bulk-food departments. Pine nuts are edible seeds that come from pine trees and have been harvested in Turkey for over 6,000 years. There has been no information reported about how these nuts were processed in Turkey, or if anything happened to them once they reached the distribution center in Englewood, New Jersey, but many are curious to know exactly why this happened. It is peculiar how this particular food borne illness infected pine nuts because salmonella usually a bacterium that is found in raw food products that come from animals, such as eggs, meat products, and some unpasteurized dairy products.

Abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and fever are what accompany this particularly painful food poisoning. Therefore, if you've purchased Wegman's pine nuts from July 1st to October 18th, bring back the product for a refund.

Photo: Kirsten Loza

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