The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting consumers to possible serious health risks from eating olives that may be contaminated with a deadly bacterium, Clostridium botulinum. C. botulinum can cause botulism, a potentially fatal illness. The olives are made by Charlie Brown di Rutigliano & Figli S.r.l, of Bari, Italy and are being recalled by the manufacturer. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this recall.
The olives should not be eaten alone or in other foods, even if they do not appear to be spoiled. Consumers should discard these products or return them to the point of purchase. If in doubt, consumers should contact the retailer and inquire whether its olives are part of the recall.
The olives are sold under the following brands: Borrelli, Bonta di Puglia, Cento, Corrado’s, Dal Raccolto, Flora, Roland and Vantia, and have codes that start with the letter “G” and are followed by 3 or 4 digits. All sizes of cans, glass jars and pouches of Cerignola, Nocerella and Castelvetrano type olives are affected.
Symptoms of botulism include general weakness, dizziness, double vision, trouble with speaking or swallowing, difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation. People experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. Consumers may also report illnesses associated with consumption of these olives to the nearest FDA district offices.
Charlie Brown di Rutigliano & Figli S.r.l, initiated a recall of these olives on March 27, 2007. The recalled olives had been distributed to wholesalers, who have marketed them nationally to restaurants and retail stores. FDA concluded that additional warnings are needed because, to date, the company has not contacted importers with specific instructions on the recall.