Paramount Farms Salmonella OutbreakOn May 12, 2004, the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory identified a cluster of five patients infected with Salmonella Enteritidis. Further investigation would lead to documentation of at least 29 patients in 12 states and Canada were part of a Salmonella outbreak that had begun in September, 2003. After a thorough investigation by local, state, and federal officials, the illnesses were definitively linked to raw almonds distributed by Paramount Farms. The investigation led to the recall of roughly 18 million pounds of Paramount Farms raw almonds.
An environmental investigation into the outbreak revealed that Salmonella was present at Paramount when three samples from two-huller-shellers that supplied Paramount during the period of interest tested positive for Salmonella contamination. As a result, the Health Hazard Evaluation Board at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, a part of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), concluded that Paramount Farms raw almonds:
[P]ose an acute, life-threatening hazard to health, particularly in children and elderly persons. Additionally, any products manufactured using these almonds, where the new product did not receive an adequate kill step to eliminate Salmonella from the finished product, likewise poses an acute, life-threatening hazard to health, particularly in children and elderly persons.
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