CDC warns of E. coli outbreak linked to organic walnuts sold in bulk

May 7, 2024
For more information about E. coli, see the CDC’s E. coli Questions and Answers page.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) food safety alert regarding a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections has been posted.

Key Points:

  • CDC has received reports of 12 people from 2 states who have been infected with this outbreak strain of E. coli.
  • Seven people have been hospitalized and 2 people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. No deaths have been reported.
  • Almost all sick people purchased organic walnuts from bulk bins in food co-ops or natural food stores in California and Washington.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that Gibson Farms, Inc supplied these walnuts and Gibson Farms, Inc has recalled these products.
    • These walnuts have expiration dates between May 21, 2025, and June 7, 2025.
    • Ask the store where you purchased if recalled walnuts were sold.
    • Some stores may repackage bulk walnut halves and pieces into plastic clamshells or bags.
  • FDA has a list of stores that may have received these walnuts.

What People Should Do:

  • If you bought organic walnut halves and pieces from bulk containers, see if yours might be part of the recall.
  • Check your pantries, refrigerators, and freezers for walnuts. If you can’t tell if it’s part of the recall, it’s safer not to eat them.
  • Wash items and surfaces that may have touched the walnuts using hot soapy water or a dishwasher.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have any severe E. coli symptoms.

What Businesses Should Do:

  • Check to see if you received Gibson Farms, Inc. organic walnut halves and pieces with lot codes listed above. Do not sell or serve them.
  • Discard the contents of the bins and use extra care to wash and sanitize containers including bulk bins, surfaces, and other items that may have come in contact with recalled walnuts.
  • When possible, contact customers by email, post on your business’ social media account and/or place signs at locations where the walnuts were sold to notify consumers.

E. coli Symptoms:

  • Most people infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli experience severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting.
    • Symptoms usually start 3 to 4 days after swallowing the bacteria.
    • Most people recover without treatment after 5 to 7 days.
  • Some people may develop serious kidney problems (hemolytic uremic syndrome, also called HUS) and would need to be hospitalized.

CDC Food Safety Alert

CDC release