Foodborne Illness Outbreak Database

This database provides summaries of significant food and water related outbreaks occurring since 1984 caused by E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter and other pathogens. Read more »

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Paramount Farms Almonds 2002

Illnesses caused by an usual strain of Salmonella Enteriditis, phage type 9c, were linked to eating almonds purchased at Costco warehouses in the northwestern United States, in early 2004. Ultimately illnesses would be found throughout the USA and Canada. The almonds were processed by Paramount Farms, a California grower and processor. Paramount Farms almonds were sold in bulk, and under a variety of labels. An investigation at the Paramount Farms processing plant failed to reveal a source for this unusual outbreak strain of Salmonella. The almond consumption history of a case in Tennessee was of particular interest, in that there was no obvious link to Paramount Farms almonds. During 2003-2004, five percent of the almonds processed at Paramount Farms were purchased from outside sources. Traceback of these almonds revealed one common handler and three common huller shellers. Environmental sampling conducted as part of this traceback effort did not reveal the outbreak strain of Salmonella, but did reveal several other Salmonella serotypes. Raw almonds were confirmed as a potential source of Salmonella. Current harvesting and processing practices limit the possibility of reduction or elimination of Salmonella in almonds without the addition of further treatment, such as heat. Paramount Farms voluntarily recalled 13 million pounds of raw almonds. This outbreak had persisted for many months before the source was determined. Illnesses related to the outbreak first occurred in January, 2002. The last noted illnesses occurred in April, 2004.

  • Outbreak began:
  • January 2002
  • Affected Country:
  • International
  • Affected States/Territories:
  • California, Arizona, Oregon, Utah, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Idaho
  • Organism(s):
  • Salmonella
  • Vehicle(s):
  • Nuts, Almonds
  • Molecular Results Available:
  • Yes
  • Test Results:
  • PFGE patterns (XbaI: JEGX01.0049; BlnI: JEGA26.0008 or JEGA26.0009
  • Location(s):
  • Many
  • Brand Name(s):
  • Trader Joe's, Kirkland Signature, Sunkist
  • Total ill:
  • 47
  • Number ill by Case Definition Known:
  • Unknown
  • Number Laboratory Confirmed Cases:
  • N/A
  • Number Probable Cases:
  • N/A
  • Number Possible Cases:
  • N/A
  • Anyone Hospitalized:
  • Yes
  • Number Hospitalized:
  • 11
  • Any Deaths:
  • Yes
  • Number Dead:
  • 1

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