A total of 43 people in five states were infected with Salmonella Enteritidis after eating contaminated Turkish pine nuts in the outbreak the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says appears to be over.
In its final report Thursday on the outbreak investigation, the CDC said New York reported 28 illnesses, Pennsylvania 8, Virginia 4, New Jersey 2 and Maryland 1.
Onset of the foodborne disease event was Aug. 20, 2011. Those sickened by Salmonella ranged in age from younger than 1 to 94 years old. The median age was 43. Two people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
Epidemiologic and lab evidence traced the outbreak to imported pine nuts from Wegmans supermarket chain bulk bins or pine nuts used in some prepared foods, such as Caprese salads, sold by the grocery stores.
Many of the ill people allowed public health investigators to use their shopper club card information to track what they’d purchased — epidemiologists found many had purchased bulk Turkish pine nuts. Seventy percent of the case patients who provided information recalled eating Turkish pine nuts during the week before they became ill.
State labs in Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland detected the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis from samples, including pine nuts from Wegmans bulk bins, from patient’s homes, and from homemade pesto. Lab testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration detected the outbreak strain in samples at a warehouse used by the distributor, Sunrise Commodities.
Wegmans Food Markets announced a recall of about 5,000 pounds of Turkish pine nuts on Oct. 26. Sunrise Commodities later recalled about 21,000. Badia Spices, which had repacked bulk pine nuts, recalled about 3,800 pounds on Nov. 4.
The CDC final report repeated a warning that consumers should check their refrigerators or freezers to make sure they don’t have Turkish pine nuts purchased between July 1 and Oct. 18, 2011 from bulk bins at Wegmans stores.
CDC Outbreak Map© Food Safety News