US food producer Paramount Farms has said it is voluntarily expanding its recall of natural raw almonds due to fears of salmonella contamination.

The US Food and Drug Administration said that before eating any raw almonds having a “best before” date of 8/21/04 or later, consumers are advised to check with the store where they purchased the product to see if the almonds came from Paramount Farms.

The FDA said Paramount Farms distributed the almonds in bulk or packaged nationwide to brokers, distributors and grocery store chains, which in turn sold the almonds to consumers in a variety of package sizes with a variety of brand names. The almonds were also distributed to Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, France, England and Italy.

The FDA said the almonds have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Enteriditis, bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Last week Paramount Farms announced a limited recall of raw almonds but has now extended the recall to include raw natural diced almonds and to include all of its industrial distributors and retailers.

The company said it chose to expand the recall after one additional case of salmonellosis was confirmed in Michigan that occurred more than three months ago.

The Almond Board of California (ABC) said it was working with the FDA and the board’s members to address food safety concerns following the recall by Paramount Farms.

“Despite FDA’s advisory, consumers do not have to refrain from eating almonds. This incident is limited to raw almonds, which represent only a fraction of the almonds sold to consumers. In fact, 95% of almonds sold undergo processing, such as blanching, roasting or baking which eliminates any potential bacteria such as Salmonella Enteritidis,” ABC said.