Canada’s public health and food safety agencies are investigating 13 E. coli O157:H7 illnesses and warning the public not to eat certain bulk and packaged raw, shelled walnuts because they may be contaminated.
In a news release Monday, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said several of those sickened had eaten shelled walnuts. The case patients live in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick. Nine people have been hospitalized and two have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening complication of E. coli.
The implicated walnuts were distributed by Quebec-based Amira Enterprises and sold in bulk bins and in packages since January 1. All package sizes — including halves, pieces and crumbs — all lot codes and all “best by” dates are being recalled:
Amira Raw shelled walnuts sold from a bulk bin*
Amira Prepackaged raw shelled walnuts (halves/pieces/crumbs)
Tia Prepackaged raw shelled walnuts (halves/pieces/crumbs)
Merit Selection Prepackaged raw shelled walnuts (halves/pieces/crumbs)
Amira Mistral Mix containing walnuts
Tia Mistral Mix containing walnuts
Amira Salad booster containing walnuts
Tia Salad booster containing walnuts
*The brand name Amira may not be marked on the raw walnuts sold from the bulk bins.
The products were distributed in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and Ontario but may also have been distributed to other provinces.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said the walnuts were imported from the USA.
Consumers who purchased walnuts from bulk bins have been advised to contact the retailer to determine if they have the affected product.