Survey of Salmonella contamination of edible nut kernels on retail sale in the UK

C. L. Little*, N. Rawal, E. de Pinna, J. McLauchlin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Consumption of nut kernels has shown an upward trend due to people's increasing tendency to eat healthy snacks. The purpose of this survey was to establish the microbiological safety of retail edible nut kernel samples of different varieties. Overall Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli were detected from 0.1% and 0.8% of 2886 edible nut kernels, respectively. S. Senftenberg and S. Tennessee were detected from two pre-packed samples of Brazil nuts (0.4%) and S. Anatum from a pre-packed mixed nuts sample (0.9%; mix: almonds, Brazils, cashews, peanuts, walnuts) indicating a risk to health. The levels of Salmonella ranged from <0.01 to 0.23/g. E. coli at unsatisfactory levels (150/g) was present in another pre-packed Brazils nuts sample (0.2%). E. coli was additionally found at lower levels (range: 3.6-43/g) in Brazils (1.9%), macadamia (1.5%), pistachios (1.1%), walnuts (0.7%), peanuts (0.7%), hazels (0.5%), cashews (0.4%), and almonds (0.3%). Levels of E. coli did not correlate with the presence of Salmonella. The batches contaminated with Salmonella were recalled and Food Standards Agency food alerts were issued to advise against the consumption of the affected products. The presence of Salmonella is unacceptable in ready-to-eat foods and follows that the need for applying good agricultural and hygiene practices and effective decontamination procedures during the production of edible kernels cannot be overemphasized. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-174
Number of pages4
JournalFood Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • Escherichia coli
  • Groundnuts
  • Kernels
  • Salmonella
  • Tree nuts


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