Macadamia nuts recalled over E. coli concerns

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp. is recalling all items produced at its plant in Keaau earlier this month because of possible E. coli contamination, state health officials warned. 

The state health department said E. coli was detected in the Hawaii island well water and distribution system that supplies the Keaau facility, and ordered all retailers to remove all products received from the plant after Sept. 6. No illnesses have been reported related to the water, the department said. 

“There is clear evidence that food produced at the Keaau facility may be contaminated and consumers may be at risk,” Peter Oshiro, state sanitation branch chief, said in a press release. “The Department of Health is working with the facility to ensure the safety of their drinking water and food production.”

E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause dehydration, bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps, with the symptoms occurring two to eight days after exposure. Most people recover in a week, but some develop a type of kidney failure that is most common among older adults and those under five.

The items being recalled were produced between Sept. 6 and Sept. 21, when the facility halted operation, Mauna Loa said in a statement. The plant will remain closed until the water contamination is cleared up.

The recalled products include a variety of packaged Mauna Loa macadamia nuts and shortbread cookies, all of which were distributed to retailers only in Hawaii, the company said. Mauna Loa is the world’s largest processor of macademia seeds, with a gift shop and visitors center that attracts tourists for self-guided tours

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