In March 2011, seven people in the U.S. and two in Canada were sickened with E. coli O157:H7 linked to in-shell hazelnuts, also known as filberts.
Agriculture types eventually traced the filberts to an Oregon packer, who refused to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration a list of its farmer suppliers the agency requested.
The statements by the growers and packers involved with producing hazelnuts were textbook examples of what not to do when foodborne illness is linked to a food product.
Polly Owen, manager of the Oregon Hazelnut Marketing Board, said most producers would prefer not to be visited by regulators from the FDA, but the decision whether to turn over supplier lists is ultimately up to handlers, adding, “We’re not going to try to tell any industry packer what they need to do.”
Someone should, because the Canadian Food Inspection Agency found Salmonella in filberts sold by retailing giant Loblaws.
The affected filberts, product of USA, were sold in 454 g bags bearing UPC7 75636 10004 1 and in bulk bins.
There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.