Quebec E. Coli Took 1 Life, 13 Others Ill as Amira Recalls Walnuts

By on Apr 8, 2011 in Health, North America, Science, World Comments

According to several Canadian news sites on Thursday, Quebec health authorities reported that one person passed away in the province after getting infected with E. coli allegedly linked to walnuts.

Amira Walnuts
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There were 13 other people reportedly ill from the same infection, nine in Quebec, two in Ontario and two in New Brunswick.

A spokesperson of the Quebec Health Department, Nathalie Levesque reported that a Quebecer died between January 31 and April 5. No other details about the person had been reported except that he/she had pre-existing health problems.

Meanwhile, Charlene Wiles, a spokesperson of the Public Health Agency of Canada was quoted saying that “raw shelled walnuts as the most likely source for these E. coli infections.” She also said that her agency is encouraging people to be careful because the source of the infection has not been absolutely confirmed and other walnut products may pose a risk.

On the other hand, Adel Boulos, Vice President of Amira Enterprises, the company that distributed walnuts, reportedly said that their company ordered a voluntary recall of their products, however, no walnuts contaminated with E. coli has been found so far. Boulos said the company did the recall early Sunday after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency contacted them on April 1. All the company’s walnuts were removed from stores all over Canada.

“We did this recall even though all the walnuts tested negative. That means there’s no E. coli in it. We did it just to protect the consumer and we didn’t want anyone to get sick. We’ve been in business 30 years now and we’ve never seen anything like this before,” Boulos was quoted saying.

To reduce the risk of E. coli infection, consumers are advised to roast their raw shelled walnuts before eating them.

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