Recall -- Firm Press Release
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Paramount Farms Expands Recall of Raw Almonds
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Lost Hills, CA, May 22, 2004 - Paramount Farms today announced that it is voluntarily expanding its recall of natural raw almonds in three ways: by extending the "best buy" dates for its retail brands; by including raw natural diced almonds; and, by including all of its industrial distributors and ultimate retailers. The company chose to expand the recall after one additional case of salmonellosis was confirmed in Michigan that occurred more than three months ago. Effective immediately, Paramount Farms also announced it will "pasteurize" all almonds before shipping, which goes above and beyond current industry common practices.
Neither the original, nor expanded retail or industrial recall, includes roasted, blanched, sliced, or slivered almonds. Such almonds undergo processing which eliminates any potential bacteria such as Salmonella Enteriditis.
On the retail side, the recall extends the "best before" ending dates. The "best before" dates for Trader Joe's and Sunkist brands whole natural raw almonds extend from 8/21/04 through 3/15/05 to 8/21/04 through 5/20/05. The "best before" dates for Kirkland Signature brand whole natural raw almonds extend from "best before" dates of 8/21/04 through 2/8/05 to 8/21/04 through 3/16/05. Furthermore, the recall adds raw almonds marked "natural diced" sold under the Sunkist brand in 10-ounce lay-flat plastic bags with "best before" dates of 8/21/04 through 5/20/05.
Paramount Farms is also in the process of contacting all of its distributors and ultimate retailers who further process and resell to ensure all whole natural raw and all raw natural diced almonds with "bulk ship" dates of 8/21/03 through 5/20/04 have been traced and removed from the marketplace. It is believed that most of the product already has been consumed or has been processed, roasted or otherwise altered, which typically eliminates Salmonella , believed to be linked with illnesses that resulted in the original recall. Countries where the almonds may have been distributed and in which customers are being contacted include Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, France, England and Italy.
"While extensive lab testing has revealed no Salmonella in Paramount products, we are contacting all of our customers who may have received shipment of natural raw unpasteurized almonds to retrieve any that may still be in circulation and have not been roasted," said David Szeflin, vice president, Operations, Paramount Farms.
The original recall of May 18, 2004 involved approximately 5 million pounds of whole natural raw almonds. An additional 8 million pounds were shipped to other companies, as well as overseas. The whole natural raw almonds sold under the Trader Joe's brand were in a one-pound lay-flat plastic bag marked "nonpareil variety raw almonds;" those sold under the Sunkist brand were in a 10-ounce lay-flat plastic bag marked "raw natural whole almonds;" and, those sold under the Kirkland Signature brand, available exclusively at Costco Wholesale Inc., were packaged in three-pound, lay-flat plastic bags.
Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
Paramount Farms has taken precautionary measures to assure the safety and quality of its products. Our own internal investigations, laboratory testing and review of sanitary practices have revealed no Salmonella in our product or facilities to date. In all eight cases of illness that the FDA identified with this type of Salmonella , the individuals have recovered.
Consumers who have questions about the recall may call Paramount Farms toll free hotline at 800-496-5168.