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Hazelnuts recalled by L.A. distributor

The hazelnuts, linked to seven E. coli cases, were sold late last year.

March 05, 2011|By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times

A Los Angeles-based nut distributor has recalled hazelnuts it sold late last year after federal and state health officials linked them to seven cases of E. coli contamination in the Midwest.

The hazelnuts recalled were packaged in their shells by DeFranco & Sons and sold under the brand names Sunripe, George Packing, Firestone Farms and Northwest Hazelnut. They were distributed to retailers nationwide from Nov. 2 through Dec. 22.

The California Department of Public Health warned consumers who still had any of the recalled nuts to dispose of them.

All of the nuts were grown at farms in Oregon. DeFranco packaged some of them into one- and two-pound bags of either mixed nuts or just hazelnuts. Some of the nuts were distributed in 50-pound bags and may have been sold in bulk by grocery stores for the holidays, according to state officials.

Results are pending of government lab tests of samples taken at DeFranco's facilities. The company said Friday that there was no evidence so far of E. coli in its facilities or its products.

Of the seven cases of illness linked to contaminated hazelnuts, three were in Minnesota, three in Wisconsin and one in Michigan.

People sickened by the bacterial strain, identified as E. coli O157:H7, can suffer life-threatening complications but usually recover within a week.

p.j.huffstutter@latimes.com

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