Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) today urged consumers to check their pantries for raw almonds that might be contaminated with Salmonella.

FSANZ Deputy Chief Executive Officer Melanie Fisher said state, territory and federal government authorities were investigating an outbreak of Salmonella gastroenteritis associated with some batches of raw almonds.

“There have been two recalls associated with this outbreak, one conducted nationally by Woolworths and one in southeast Queensland by Flannerys ,” Ms Fisher said.

The products recalled were supplied by Select Harvests and sold as Woolworths Almond Kernels (with best before dates of 05/02/13; 06/04/13; 07/04/13; 12/04/13) and as Flannerys Own Almonds in 500gm and 1kg zip-lock sealed pouch (with best before dates between 02/07/13 and 05/10/13).

Ms Fisher said consumers should check the brand of almonds in their pantry and if the product had been recalled they should either dispose of any remaining product or return packets to the place of purchase for a full refund. If consumers have almonds in their pantry and are unsure of the source then they should consider disposing of the product.

“The food recalls were notified earlier this month but we want to ensure consumers are carefully checking their pantries as packaged raw almonds are often bought to use later,” she said.

Raw almonds can be identified by the brown skin on the outside of the almond. Roasted almonds (which also have brown skin but will be labelled as ‘roasted’), and processed almonds e.g. blanched almonds, almond slivers and processed product containing almonds, are not affected by these recalls.

Twenty-seven confirmed or suspected cases of salmonellosis linked to the recalled products have been reported in six states and territories.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days and most people recover within a few days. However for very young children (under five years of age), older people and people with weak immune systems, salmonellosis can be much more serious.

If you think you or your family might have become ill from eating raw almonds, you should consult your doctor.