Forty-two people were infected with Salmonella Enteritidis after consuming contaminated Turkish pine nuts, according to CDC.

Illnesses  have been reported by five states: Maryland (1), New Jersey (2), New York (27), Pennsylvania (8), and Virginia (4). Two people were hospitalized; the oldest victim was 94, and the youngest was less than one year old. None of the outbreak patients died.

An earlier report, issued by CDC on October 26th, included Arizona in the list of cases. But supplementary DNA profiling carried out by CDC determined that the Arizona case was unrelated to the Pine Nut outbreak, according to Dr. Robert Tauxe of CDC.

CDC reports that some of the outbreak victims consumed prepared dishes – such as homemade pesto,  that contained raw pine nuts. Both Virginia and New York state agencies have recovered the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis from samples of pine nuts (purchased by outbreak victims from bulk bins at Wegmans supermarket stores), and homemade pesto made from bulk-purchased pine nuts. Wegmans recalled the implicated bulk pine nuts on October 26, 2011.

Salmonella contamination in Turkish pine nuts should not be a total surprise. In August of this year, Greece rejected two consignments of pine nuts from Turkey after samples from both consignments were found to containSalmonella (RASFF Notification #2011.BQS and 2011.BQM).

The Turkish pine nuts were imported into the USA by Sunrise Commodities (Englewood Cliffs, NJ) and distributed in bulk to various food vendors in Florida, New Jersey, New York and Canada. Sunrise recalled 4 lots – totally approximately 21,000 pounds – of pine nuts, after FDA confirmed the presence of Salmonella on the pine nuts. Testing is in progress to determine whether any of FDA’s isolates are a genetic match for the outbreak strain.

CDC offers the following advice to consumers:

  • Consumers should check their homes, including refrigerators and freezers, for Turkish pine nuts purchased from bulk bins at Wegmans stores between July 1, 2011 and October 18, 2011 and not eat them. Consumers should also not eat any foods prepared with the recalled product, including pesto, salads, and baked goods.
  • Restaurants and food service operators should not serve the recalled product.
  • Consumers, retailers, and others who have any of the recalled product should dispose of it in a closed plastic bag placed in a sealed trash can. This will prevent people or animals from eating it.
  • Persons who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated recalled products should consult their health care providers. Infants, older adults, and persons with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness.

It’s very likely that additional recall notices will be posted in coming days, as the extent of the pine nut distribution is determined. Please refer to the Turkish Pine Nuts Recall Distribution List for more information on where the pine nuts were sold.