By News-Register staff • 

Salmonella linked to McMinnville hazelnut farm

Recent cases of salmonellosis, a foodborne illness caused by exposure to Salmonella bacteria, have been linked to hazelnuts sold at a McMinnville farm stand.

State agencies are recommending that people who bought the nuts discard them immediately.

Officials at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division and the Oregon Department of Agriculture announced today that laboratory and epidemiologic analyses traced the salmonellosis cases to hazelnuts sold by Schmidt Farm and Nursery located on Highway 18 southwest of McMinnville.

"People who have hazelnuts from the farm stand at Schmidt Farm should toss them out right away," said Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director of the Public Health Division's Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section.

Five people became ill with a specific strain of Salmonella Typhimurium between Oct. 15 and Dec. 13.

When interviewed by public health officials, three of the individuals recalled buying hazelnuts from Schmidt Farm.

The fourth ate hazelnuts from an unlabeled bag of partially shelled nuts.

A fifth case was linked to the other four cases after having tested positive for the same strain of salmonella.

Tests performed on nuts purchased at the farm also identified the same strain of Salmonella.

All five cases were in adults. None of the individuals were hospitalized and all have recovered.

According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Schmidt Farm sells only a small portion of its hazelnuts at the farm stand. The company distributes the bulk of its hazelnuts through wholesalers, and those nuts should be safe.

"Wholesalers have steps in place that kill any Salmonella on the hazelnuts they handle before the nuts reach consumers," said Stephanie Page, the agriculture department's director of food safety and animal services. "To date, we have no indication there were any issues with this part of the process. The concern in this case is with hazelnuts bought at the farm stand."

Raw or undercooked poultry, meats and eggs are the most common sources of Salmonella, but other foodscan become contaminated.

Contamination of other products on a farm typically occurs when the product is exposed to feces from an animal carrying Salmonella or to its environment.

It also can happen when an uncontaminated product has direct or indirect exposure to product containing Salmonella.

In homes, foods can be contaminated when raw or undercooked meat, poultry or eggs come into contact with other foods.

Most people who get salmonellosis become sick in one to five days after exposure. Salmonellosis can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that can last up to seven days.

Most people recover without treatment, but in some cases the diarrhea is so severe that hospital care is needed. Though rare, the most severe cases of Salmonella can lead to death if not treated.

People can take steps to prevent Salmonella at home, including washing their hands before cooking and after being around animals; keeping food preparation surfaces clean; washing raw fruits and vegetables before eating; keeping raw vegetables away from raw meat, poultry or eggs; always cooking meat and poultry to the proper temperature and drinking only pasteurized milk and juices.



In its discussion about the origins of Salmonella poisoning this article neglected to point out that birds are common carriers of this bacteria. It is no coincidence that the Schmidt farm, located directly across Hwy 18 from Riverbend Landfill, has Salmonella contamination of their hazelnuts. This farm m is subject to a continuous barrage of feces dropping from the sky from the thousands of birds scavenging at the landfill and flying over their trees. And, Waste Management owns this farm; the Schmidt simply farm it.