Who doesn’t like a pine nut; an excellent addition to sauted spinach, fresh salad or pesto.
Except when the nuts are carrying salmonella, posing a raw consumption and cross-contamination risk in the kitchen.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced today it is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in New York and other states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to Turkish pine nuts purchased from bulk bins at Wegmans grocery stores.
A total of 42 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis have been reported from 6 states.
Among 42 persons for whom information is available, illnesses began on or after August 20, 2011. Ill persons range in age from <1 to 94 years, and the median age is 43 years old. Fifty-seven percent of patients are female. Two patients were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic and laboratory investigations conducted by officials in local, state, and federal public health, agriculture, and regulatory agencies linked this outbreak to eating Turkish pine nuts sold in bulk bins at Wegmans grocery stores. Some Turkish pine nuts were consumed as an ingredient in prepared foods, such as Caprese salad or asparagus with pine nuts, sold at Wegmans stores. These pine nuts are imported from Turkey, but may not have originated there.
Early in the investigation, shopper card information was collected and used to identify which specific products to suspect as sources of illness. Ill persons gave permission for public health officials to retrieve shopper card purchase information. A review of shopper card records identified that ill persons had purchased the same type of Turkish pine nuts from bulk bins at different locations of Wegmans grocery stores before becoming ill.
Laboratory testing conducted by the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis from Turkish pine nuts that were purchased from bulk bins at Wegmans stores and collected from an ill person’s home. The Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services also isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis from retail samples of Turkish pine nuts collected from a Wegmans store where ill persons reported shopping. Laboratory testing conducted by the New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center Laboratory, isolated SalmonellaEnteritidis from two separate samples of homemade pesto containing Turkish pine nuts from two unrelated ill persons’ homes, and from Turkish pine nuts which were purchased from bulk bins at a Wegmans store and collected from another ill person’s home. Both samples of homemade pesto have been tested and it is determined the Salmonella in these pine nuts is also the outbreak strain.