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Dozen people struck down by E coli outbreak after eating organic walnuts as two develop deadly disease

Simon Calder’s Travel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an urgent warning as a dozen people have been struck down with food poisoning after ingesting organic walnuts believed to be contaminated with E coli.

Almost all of the 12 people who fell ill purchased the tainted nuts from stores across California and Washington, according to a statement from CDC.

Seven people have been admitted to hospital, while two have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the public health agency added. The rare infection can cause onset kidney failure, leaving some sufferers with permanent organ damage. In its worst cases, HUS can be fatal.

The Food and Drug Administration traced the source of walnuts to Gibson Farms of Hollister, California, which distributes the nut to more than 300 shops across 19 states. It has recalled shelled walnuts with expiration dates between 21 May 2025 and 7 June 2025, the FDA added.

“Gibson Farms, Inc has voluntarily recalled the product(s) after being notified by the CDC of 12 recorded illnesses allegedly linked to the consumption of organic halves and pieces [of] shelled walnuts,” the company said in an FDA announcement on Tuesday.

An investigation is underway after two victims developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (PA)

The nuts, which were sold in bulk bins, are believed to have been contaminated with dangerous E coli bacteria. Symptoms can start three days after consuming food and can include severe stomach cramps, diarrhoea, blood in stool and vomiting, according to the CDC. Most people make a full recovery after five to seven days.

Those who believe they may have purchased the contaminated walnuts are being urged to check whether they’re part of the recall. The walnuts should be binned immediately, and items and surfaces that may have had contact with the nuts should be washed with hot, soapy water or put in the dishwasher, the health agency said.

Hundreds of stores, including supermarket chain Whole Foods, have received the potentially contaminated walnuts across 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.

The CDC has advised businesses on Gibson Farms’ recall list to discard the contaminated nuts in their bins, and sanitise them before next use. Signs…

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