People in Alberta and elsewhere in Canada are being warned about possible E. coli contamination of imported in-shell hazelnuts.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued an alert Friday about the shipment of hazelnuts, also known as filberts.
A number of Americans have fallen ill after eating the packaged in-shell nuts, which have been recalled by U.S.-based distributor DeFranco & Sons.
Two Canadians have fallen ill with a strain of E. coli that matches the genetic fingerprint of the strain responsible for the illnesses in the United States. The Public Health Agency of Canada is investigating whether the two Canadian illnesses are also linked to the nuts.
Some of the recalled nuts were packaged and sold under the brand name Sunripe in 454-gram bags of either plain hazelnuts or mixed nuts, with sell-by dates of June 30, 2011.
Recalled nuts were also sold in bulk as Imperial Mixed Nuts, Supreme Mixed Nuts or as plain hazelnuts any time after Nov. 16, 2010.
The bulk nuts may have been repackaged into smaller, unlabelled units, the CFIA noted.
"If you have purchased bulk or unlabelled, in-shell hazelnuts or in-shell mixed nuts containing hazelnuts after Nov. 16, 2010, and are unsure if you have the recalled product, check with your place of purchase to determine if you have the affected product," a written statement from the CFIA said.
The affected nuts have been distributed in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario. The CFIA said the nuts may also have been distributed elsewhere in Canada.
Symptoms of infection with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria may include severe abdominal pain, bloody bowel movements and seizures. An E. coli infection can result in permanent kidney damage and sometimes death.
Squid rings also recalled due to peanut allergy risk
The CFIA also issued a recall on Friday for OceanPrime breaded squid rings (salt & pepper) for containing undeclared peanuts.
One person who consumed the squid rings had an allergic reaction.
The importer, OceanPrime Inc. of Woodbridge, Ont., issued a voluntary recall of the entire stock of 908g packages bearing the UPC code 6 287727 433104.
This product has been distributed in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, Manitoba and B.C.