Gibson Farms Inc. has recalled organic light halves and pieces of shelled walnuts because they have been linked to an outbreak of E. coli infections. 

The organic walnuts were distributed in natural food stores and co-ops in the following states: Alaska, Arkansas Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. 

As of today there are 12 confirmed patients in the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections. Seven of the patients have been hospitalized and two of those have acute kidney failure. Of 10 patients interviewed so far, all 10 reported eating walnuts before becoming ill.

Consumers who have the recalled walnuts on hand are urged to throw them away. If it is not clear what company distributed the organic walnuts they should be thrown away. The FDA is working to determine what specific stores received the walnuts. Some stores may have repackaged the bulk walnut halves and pieces into plastic clamshells or bags.

The recalled walnuts were sold in bulk boxes in 25-pound quantities and can be identified by lot 3325-043 and 3341-501 with expiration dates 5/21/25 and 6/7/25.

A full investigation is currently under way to determine the potential source of the contamination.

Gibson Farms requests consignees to hold and discontinue selling their existing stock of lot 3325-043 and lot 3341-501 and return any remaining inventory of the recalled products to its warehouse at 1190 Buena Vista Road, Hollister, CA, 95023. 

Retailers that received shelled walnuts from a distributor but do not know the brand or lot code information, should hold product, sanitize bins, and contact their supplier.

Consumers with questions may contact the company representative, Veronica Cheatham, at 831-637-3512 or email

About E. coli infections
Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled walnuts and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor. 

Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients. 

People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here)