Oregon Distributor Recalls 114,000 Pounds of Shelled Hazelnuts

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Williamette Shelling of Newberg, Oregon is recalling 114,350 pounds of shelled hazelnuts nationwide because of potential contamination with salmonella. Unshelled hazelnuts are not affected by the recall.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, salmonella infection can result in the organism entering the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses, such as arterial infections and endocarditis.

The shelled nuts were distributed to several different processors and wholesalers in the following states: Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, New York, and New Jersey.

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The hazelnuts included in the recall were processed between October 12 and November 25, 2009 and packed in 25 pound and 50 pound corrugated boxes with lot code numbers 296091A, 299091A, 300091A, VH3696BO, 311091A, and 310091A. Those boxes bore the brand names Kunze Farms, Evonuk Oregon Hazelnuts, Canadian Hazelnuts, Willamette Filbert Growers, Meridian Organic Hazelnuts, and Firestone Farms, according to the FDA.

The recall was initiated after the company conducted quality testing on the canned products and found salmonella in one production lot. The company is investigating the issue and will resume production and shipment of the product when it has been resolved.

In the past few years, nuts of all types have been the source of salmonella poisoning. Peanuts were a key source of the problem in the recent outbreaks involving PCA and ConAgra peanut butter. There was a large pistachio recall early in 2009. Health officials expressed particular concern at the timing of this latest recall since hazelnuts are often used in holiday baking.

No illnesses to date have been identified as a result of the recall.

Hazelnut processors who used Willamette Shelling’s facility in 2009 are urged to return the product to Willamette Shelling. Consumers who purchase recalled hazelnuts are advised to return the recalled product to place of purchase for replacement or refund.

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