Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Wonderful Pistachios: How To Know If Yours Are Being Recalled

A salmonella outbreak in nine states has been linked to bagged pistachios sold by Wonderful Pistachios and other brands, including Trader Joe’s, ABC News is reporting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the salmonella montevideo bacterium has sickened 11 people in nine states, with two of those cases requiring hospitalization. The contaminated pistachios were sold in Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Virginia, and Washington state.

The contaminated pistachios were sold under the brand names Wonderful, Paramount Farms, and Trader Joe’s. Possibly-contaminated pistachios have been sold in all 50 states and Canada.

Wonderful has recalled “a limited number of flavors and sizes of in-shell and shelled pistachios” that may be contaminated with the bacteria. If you have a bag of pistachios sold under either of those brands, you can tell if your bag is subject to recall by looking at the 13-digit lot code on the bottom of the bag. If the lot code appears on the list here, you can take it to the retailer for a full refund even if you’ve eaten some of the nuts.

Also, the CDC warns that even if you’ve eaten some pistachios from a possibly-contaminated bag and not gotten sick, you should still stop eating the pistachios and take the bag for a refund.

In a statement, the Wonderful Company reminded consumers that the company is committed to safety.

“Wonderful Pistachios takes food safety matters very seriously and is working closely with health officials to identify the source of the problem. In an effort to further enhance our food safety program and ensure the health and well being of our consumers, we have, effective immediately, proactively increased our sampling frequencies and lot size testing. The implementation of these augmented safety protocols further exceeds established industry best practices and bolsters our long-standing commitment to producing the highest quality, most wholesome and safest pistachios in the world.”

Infection with the salmonella bacterium can be deadly in the very young, the very old, or in people with weakened immune systems. In healthy adults, salmonella poisoning can be uncomfortable but is not usually fatal. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning, which appear 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria, include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Symptoms can last four to seven days.

According to a 2014 CDC report, foodborne illness is widespread and rampant in the United States. Approximately one in six Americans (about 48 million) will get food poisoning each year on average. About 128,000 will be sick enough to require hospitalization, and about 3,000 will die.

Fresh produce accounts for the vast majority of cases of foodborne illness and deaths from food poisoning (you can combat this by thoroughly washing your fresh produce before you eat it).

In fact, one of the worst foodborne illness outbreaks in recent history can be traced to fresh produce. In 2015, according to the CDC, over 800 people in 39 states were sickened with salmonella traced to cucumbers imported from Mexico. The 2015 salmonella outbreak was linked to 191 hospitalizations and six deaths.

Meat and poultry, dairy and eggs, and then fish and shellfish round out the list of the major sources of food poisoning.

And while the worst offender when it comes to sickening people is the norovirus, salmonella is responsible for the most deaths from food poisoning, followed by toxoplasma and listeria.

As of this writing, the pistachio-linked salmonella outbreak is not known to be linked to any deaths.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]