Recent Recalls and Outbreaks Highlight Risk
Almond, Cashew, Macadamia, Soynut, Sunflower, Peanut Butter and Tahini
A spate of recent recalls and outbreaks linked to butters made from nuts and seeds highlights the risk that some of these products pose. Contamination can occur if bacteria such as Listeria, E. coli or Salmonella makes its way into the product after the nuts and seeds have been roasted.
Oskri Organics Listeria Sunflower Butter Recall
On January 2, 2019, Oskri Organics Corporation of Lake Mills, Wisconsin issued a recall for some lots of Oskri Organic Sunflower Butter, Oskri Tahini Butter, Thrive Sunflower Butter for possible contamination with Listeria. The company said no illnesses had been reported at the time the recall was issued and that it became aware of the problem when a customer submitted the product for testing and results showed it was positive for Listeria monocytogenes.
Consumers who have purchased these products should not eat them as Listeria can cause serious illness and death. Among pregnant women, Listeria can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and infection of the newborn.
The company says it has ceased production of the products and is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on an investigation of how the contamination occurred.
Inspired Organics Listeria Recall
On December 20, 2018, Inspired Organics issued a recall of all lots and all dates of organic almond butter, organic peanut butter and tahini or sunflower butters for potential Listeria contamination. The Inspired Organics recall of all lots and dates of all nut and seed butters followed two previously issued recalls. One on December 11, 2018 for Inspired Organics, LLC sunflower butter recall for potential Listeria contamination. And one on December 17, 2018, for possible Listeria contamination of Organic Almond Butter.
These products were shipped to food service and retail locations in: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.
According to the company, they expanded the recall when product tests performed after the initial recall returned “presumptive positive” results for Listeria contamination. All Inspired Organic nut and seed butters are produced by Oskri Corp.
Five years ago, the FDA sent Oskri a warning letter for serious food safety violations. One of the violations was for failure to hold nuts and seeds in suitable containers. Both roasted and unroasted nuts and seeds were stored in bulk metal bins with metal mesh screen lids which do not protect them from adulterants or contaminants. FDA inspectors saw drips of clear liquid and drops of dark fluid on the mesh screen covers of the bins. The company corrected the problems after receiving the letter.
In 2012, a Salmonella outbreak linked to organic peanut butter produced by Sunland Inc. and sold under a variety of brand names including Trader Joe’s, Newman’s Own, Earth Balance, Harry & David, Target’s Archer Farms and Safeway’s Open Nature, sickened 42 people and triggered more than 250 product recalls. The National School Lunch program was also affected by the recall via Smucker’s Uncrustables sandwiches and bulk drums of peanut butter.
At that time, Sunland was the country’s largest producer of organic peanut butter. During inspections of the facility in Portales, New Mexico, the FDA found numerous food safety violations including unprocessed nuts being stored outside where they witnessed birds sitting on them and pooping on them.
Achdut Tahini Salmonella Outbreak
A current tahini Salmonella outbreak has sickened five people in three states. A recall has been issued for the tahini, made by, Achdut Ltd. in Ari’el, Israel, and sold under a variety of brand names including Achva, Achdut, Soom, S&F, Pepperwood, and Baron’s. Three illnesses have been reported in New York. Michigan and Hawaii have reported one illness each.
I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter E. coli Outbreak
In 2017, an E. coli outbreak linked to I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter sickened 32 people in 12 states. Twelve people were hospitalized, including nine children who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a form of kidney failure associated with E. coli infections that can be fatal. Brendan Flaherty, a lead attorney of Pritzker Hageman’s E. coli team filed a lawsuit on behalf of one of those children.
During an inspection of the facility where t the product was made, FDA investigators found multiple food safety violations. The number of illnesses reported from 12 states were: Arizona (4), California (5), Florida (2), Illinois (1), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), Oregon (11), Virginia (2), Washington (2), and Wisconsin (1).
If you developed food poisoning from a nut butter or seed butter and would like to talk with a food poisoning lawyer, call 1 (888) 377-8900 or use this online form. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.