Food safety attorney William Marler today reissued calls for more stringent recall procedures for contaminated food in the aftermath of a Salmonella outbreak at a restaurant in San Francisco. According to health officials, 22 ill persons have tested positive for a strain of Salmonella matching the strain associated with raw almonds.
In May, 2004, officials at the FDA, in conjunction with state health officials from Oregon, Washington, and California, reported a link between a number of Salmonella illnesses and raw almonds processed and sold by Paramount Farms, Inc. of California. As a result, Paramount Farms recalled approximately 13 million pounds of raw almonds. Eventually at least 46 illnesses, including a death, were tied to that outbreak.
Documents acquired in litigation against Paramount Farms demonstrate that of the roughly 13 million pounds of almonds recalled, only 1,183,279 pounds were recovered by the firm. While significant amounts of the recalled almonds were likely consumed before the recall, it remains likely that the most recent outbreak can be traced back to the prior problem.