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Walnuts recalled from two Skagit County stores due to E. coli contamination

Skagit Valley Herald - 5/6/2024

Organic walnuts sold at stores mostly in the western United States, including two in Skagit County, are being recalled after residents in Washington and California were infected with a strain of E. coli.

The state Department of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are advising residents to stop eating organic walnut halves and pieces that were sold in bulk or repackaged at 306 stores in 19 states, including the Skagit Valley Food Co-op and the Anacortes Food Co-op.

The list of potentially affected stores also includes two Community Food Coop stores in Bellingham.

Twelve people in Washington and California have been infected with E. coli since February after eating bulk organic walnuts.

The outbreak has been traced to Gibson Farms in central California.

The products were shipped to distributors between Oct. 1 and April 24, and have expiration dates of May 21, 2025 and June 7, 2025.

In Washington six residents from Clallam, Jefferson and King counties have gotten sick, with two hospitalized.

There have been no deaths.

The state Department of Health advises residents who have bought organic walnut halves and pieces in bulk or in repackaged containers to check the list of stores on the department’s Recalls and Alerts website. Residents should also:

* Ask the store where they purchased the walnuts if they sold walnuts that are being recalled.

* Stop eating and discard recalled walnuts, including those stored in a refrigerator or freezer. If residents can’t tell if their walnuts are part of the recall, it’s safer not to eat them.

* Use hot, soapy water to wash containers in which recalled walnuts have been stored and clean any surfaces they may have touched by the walnuts.

E. coli are bacteria that live in human and animal intestines. Some strains can create toxins that make humans sick.

Symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and a low grade fever.

Those with an infection may get a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. Symptoms of the syndrome include decreased urine production, dark or tea-colored urine, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids.

The state Department of Health suggests that those who have eaten recalled walnuts and develop symptoms of E. coli infection should contact their health care provider.

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(c)2024 the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.)

Visit the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.) at www.goskagit.com

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