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Italian olives tainted with botulinum toxin sickened two members of a Helsinki family last week.

Both individuals reported having eaten Gaudiano Organic Olives Stuffed with Almonds. Lab tests confirmed that the jar from which the two patients had eaten the olives contained botulinum toxin.

The tainted olives were packed in 314ml glass jars, with a best before date of 09/2012. They were imported into Finland by Kespro as early as September 2010. The olives were sold in Finland to K-food stores KCM Big Apple (Espoo), KCM Jumbo (Vantaa) and KSM South Centre (Rovaniemi), and to a few restaurants.

The olives have been withdrawn from sale in Finland, and consumers who purchased this product are asked to return it to the store.

Germany’s Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety has learned that some of these olives also were distributed in Germany, and is asking its citizens to dispose of any of the implicated jars of olives “with household waste”.

According to a notice posted October 21, 2011 on the Rapid Alert System for Foods and Feeds (RASFF) and updated this morning (October 24th), these olives also were distributed to the United Kingdom and the USA. So far, neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nor Britain’s Food Standards Agency has issued a Consumer Alert or a public health advisory of any sort.

eFood Alert Advisory to Consumers in Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom and the USA:

Check your pantry for Gaudiano Organic Olives Stuffed with Almonds (Product of Italy; Best before 09/2012), and discard the product in a safe manner. DO NOT TASTE THIS PRODUCT. If you have consumed even a tiny amount of this product and begin to experience any symptoms of botulism, including blurred vision or difficulty swallowing, seek immediate medical attention.

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