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UPDATE March 10, 2011: Laboratory testing conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture on in-shell hazelnuts recovered from a patient's home has identified E. coli O157:H7 matching patient isolates by DNA analysis. Please see the Minnesota Department of Health press release.


For Immediate Release: March 5, 2011
Media Inquiries: FDA Office of Media Affairs, 301-796-4540,
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA


FDA: E. coli O157:H7 cases linked to hazelnuts
DeFranco & Sons voluntarily recalling in-shell hazelnuts and mixed-nut products in bulk and bags


Fast Facts

  • DeFranco & Sons of Los Angeles, Calif. is voluntarily recalling bulk and consumer-packaged in-shell hazelnuts and mixed-nut products containing in-shell hazelnuts.
  • The recalled products are linked to seven cases of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and may cause serious illness.
  • Consumers who have purchased bulk in-shell hazelnuts or mixed-nut products containing in-shell hazelnuts should check with the retailer to determine if they are subject to the recall, or throw the nuts away.

What is the Problem?
DeFranco & Sons is voluntarily recalling in-shell hazelnuts, also called filberts, and mixed nuts containing in-shell hazelnuts that have been linked to seven cases of E. coli O157:H7 in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. These nuts were distributed nationwide and to Canada Nov. 2 to Dec. 22, 2010. The in-shell hazelnuts may have been sold in 2-pound and 4-pound packages of mixed nuts, 1-pound packages containing only in-shell hazelnuts or in open bins of nuts in grocery stores.

What are the Symptoms of Illness/Injury?
Most people infected with E. coli O157:H7 develop diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps 2-8 days (3-4 days, on average) after swallowing the organism, but some illnesses last longer and are more severe. Infection is usually diagnosed by stool sample culture. While most people recover within a week, some develop a severe infection. A type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can begin as the diarrhea is improving; this can occur among persons of any age but is most common in children under 5 years old and the elderly. Signs and symptoms of HUS may include: fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, decreased urination and swelling of the face, hands, feet, or entire body. Persons who experience these symptoms and believe they are at risk for HUS should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Who is at Risk?
E. coli O157:H7 can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems.

What Do Consumers Need To Do? 
Don’t eat recalled in-shell hazelnuts and mixed nuts containing in-shell hazelnuts. Consumers are advised to follow recall instructions and check with the retailer to see if the bulk nuts they purchased are among those being recalled, or throw the product away. Consumers should check the 1-pound, 2 pound and 4-pound products to see if the brand name and “Sell by Date” matches those listed below.

What Does the Product Look Like?
DeFranco & Sons received the in-shell hazelnuts from other suppliers and growers. In some cases, the in-shell hazelnuts were mixed and packaged with other nuts. The products were subsequently distributed nationwide and to Canada. The affected products listed below were distributed between Nov. 2, 2010 and Dec. 22, 2010.

 BrandSizeProductSell by DateUPC
Sunripe1 lbLarge Hazelnuts6/30/11 070533 000167
Sunripe1 lbMixed Nuts6/30/11 070533 000143
Sunripe2 lbsMixed Nuts6/30/11 070533 001003
None – (Sold as “Season’s Greetings”  Gift Pack)4 lbsMixed Nuts6/30/11 070533 101024
Sunripe50 lbsImperial Mixed NutsNoneNone

50 lbs

Supreme Mixed NutsNoneNone
George Packing50 lbsHazelnutsRecall applies only to the products distributed by DeFranco & Sons between 11/2/10 to 12/22/10. 

The 50-pound bags of in-shell hazelnuts or mixed nuts with in-shell hazelnuts may have been repacked into smaller packages by other firms or sold from bulk containers to consumers. 

Where is it Distributed?
The affected nuts may have been sold by retailers nationwide and in Canada.      

What is Being Done about the Problem?
The FDA became of aware of the problem in late February and is actively working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health and agricultural agencies in those states where illnesses have occurred to investigate the source of the contamination. The investigation is still ongoing. The FDA is also working with state authorities to take appropriate action to address any product that may be remaining on the market. The FDA has also shared information with Canadian authorities about the problem.

Who Should be Contacted?
Consumers with questions about this recall should contact DeFranco & Sons at 1-800-992-3992 Monday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific time.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about nut safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD.


The information in this press release reflects the FDA’s best efforts to communicate what it has learned from the distributer and the state and local public health agencies involved in the investigation. The agency will update this page as more information becomes available.


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