2024 E. coli Multi-state Outbreak Linked to Organic Walnuts

Foodborne illness webpage | Link to all outbreaks

Last updated: April 30, 2024


Organic walnut halves and pieces sold in bulk containers have been identified as the source of E. coli O157:H7 infection in 6 Washington residents. The Washington State Department of Health worked with local, federal and California public health partners to investigate this outbreak which has infected 12 people (6 in Washington and 6 in California) between February and April 2024.

On April 29th Gibson Farms announced a voluntary recall of shelled organic walnut halves and pieces because of possible contamination with E. coli O157:H7. The walnuts were distributed to several stores in Washington—the list of stores can be found on the DOH Food Recalls and Safety Alerts website (posted April 30, 2024).

FDA outbreak notice: Outbreak Investigation of E. coli O157:H7: Bulk Organic Walnuts (April 2024) | FDA

Gibson Farms recall notice: Gibson Farms Voluntarily Recalls Organic Light Halves and Pieces Shelled Walnuts Because of Possible Health Risk | FDA

CDC Food Safety Alert: E. coli Outbreak Linked to Organic Walnuts | CDC

Investigation Details

Updated 4/30/2024

Six Washington residents and 6 California residents were infected with a highly related strain of E. coli O157:H7 between February 1, 2024 and April 4, 2024.

Five of the six Washington cases were interviewed and all reported consuming walnuts prior to their illness. Because the California cases reported similar exposures, the United States Food and Drug Administration conducted traceback on the walnuts purchased by the cases which led to the same supplier (Gibson Farms, Inc. of Hollister. California).

The FDA is working with the firm and its distributors to determine the source of the contamination.

Washington State Case Information

Six Washington residents from three counties have been included in this outbreak, including Clallam (1), Jefferson (2), and King (3). Two were hospitalized and none died.

Advice to Consumers

  • Check your pantries, refrigerators, and freezers for organic walnut halves and pieces purchased from bulk containers. Stores may repackage bulk walnut halves and pieces into plastic clamshells or bags.
  • If you have organic walnuts halves and pieces purchased from bulk containers:
    • Check to see if the store where you purchased them received the recalled walnuts
    • You can also ask the store where you purchased the walnuts if they sold the recalled walnuts.
  • If you purchased walnuts that are part of the recall or if you can’t tell if your walnuts are part of the recall:
    • Discard the walnuts and don’t eat them.
    • Wash surfaces and containers that may have touched the walnuts using hot soapy water or a dishwasher.
  • It is possible that additional products containing walnuts may be identified and recalled in the future—if that happens the FDA Outbreak Notice will be updated
  • Contact your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these severe STEC E. coli symptoms:
    • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
    • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving.
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down.
    • Signs of dehydration, such as:
      • Not peeing much
      • Dry mouth and throat
      • Feeling dizzy when standing up

Advice to Retailers

  • Check to see if you received Gibson Farms, Inc. organic walnut halves and pieces with lot codes 3325-043 and 3341-501. The products were shipped to distributors between October 1, 2023 and April 24, 2024, and have expiration dates of 5/21/25 and 6/7/2025.
    •  If you are unsure if you received the recalled product, please contact your supplier.
  • If you received the recalled lots:
    • Do not sell or serve the recalled walnuts.
    • Discard the contents of the bins and use extra care to clean and sanitize the bins before refilling.
    • If possible, notify your customers who may have purchased the recalled walnuts or items prepared in-store that include the recalled walnuts as an ingredient.
    • Place signs at locations where the walnuts were sold to help notify consumers.

Foods Recalled

  • Gibson Farms organic walnut halves and pieces
  • Lot codes 3325-043 and 3341-501
  • Expiration dates 5/21/25 and 6/7/25
  • Shipped to distributors between 10/1/2023 to 4/24/2024
  • The walnuts were typically sold in bulk bins but may have been packed in plastic clamshells or bags.
  • The walnuts may have also been used as an ingredient in items prepared in-store.
Gibson's Organically Grown Walnuts Recall

About Shiga toxin producing E. coli (STEC)

E. coli bacteria normally live in the intestines of humans and animals. Many strains of E. coli bacteria exist, and most of them are harmless or beneficial to human health. STEC are strains of E. coli that produce Shiga toxin (such as E. coli O157:H7) and can cause serious illness in people.

Symptoms of E. coli Infection

People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) 2 to 8 days (average of 3 to 4 days) after swallowing the germ. Symptoms often include:

  • Severe stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea (often bloody)
  • Vomiting
  • Low grade fever (less than 101ºF/38.5ºC)

Some people with a STEC infection may get a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include decreased urine production, dark or tea-colored urine, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids.

Symptoms of E. coli, CDC


  • Avoid eating high-risk foods, especially undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized milk or juice, soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, or sprouts.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure that ground beef has reached a safe internal temperature of 160° F.
  • Thoroughly wash fresh produce before eating.
  • Wash hands before, during, and after preparing food, after diapering infants, and after contact with cows, sheep, or goats, their food or treats, or their living environment.
  • E. coli Facts, Foodsafety.gov
  • E. coli, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention