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E. coli Outbreak Linked to Organic Walnuts Across 19 States in the US

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In a recent development, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak has surfaced, with organic walnuts identified as the source. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a recall for organic walnut halves and pieces distributed by Gibson Farms Inc. of Hollister, CA, to numerous natural food stores and co-ops spanning 19 states. The affected walnuts were primarily sold in bulk bins, prompting urgent advice for consumers to discard any recalled products. 

So far, the outbreak has led to 12 confirmed cases in California and Washington, with over half of the infected individuals requiring hospitalization, and two experiencing acute kidney failure. Investigations reveal a common thread among patients: the consumption of organic walnuts from bulk bins in food co-ops or natural food stores. While some stores may have repackaged the walnuts into plastic clamshells or bags, the FDA is diligently working to identify specific retail locations affected.

Given the delayed reporting of illnesses and potential underdiagnosis, the actual number of cases could be higher, as indicated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Gibson Farms Inc. has initiated a recall of the implicated walnuts and is cooperating with authorities to determine the source of contamination and assess the scope of affected products and regions.

The recall encompasses states including Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. 

Individuals who have consumed the recalled walnuts and are exhibiting symptoms of E. coli infection are advised to seek medical attention promptly. While symptoms can vary, they often include severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and fever. Complications such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can arise, particularly among vulnerable populations, necessitating immediate medical intervention.

HUS symptoms, including fever, abdominal pain, fatigue, decreased urination, bruising, and pallor, require urgent medical care due to the potential for severe consequences such as kidney failure and neurological damage. Awareness and swift action are crucial in mitigating the impact of this outbreak on public health. 

Source: FSN 

Reach out to Fresh Group Food Safety And Quality Consulting for any inquiries related to food quality and safety.