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Don't panic -- hazelnuts are not the new peanuts

December 21, 2009 |  4:22 pm

PanforteMany bakers have a limited need for hazelnuts. Pecans, walnuts, almonds -- these fit standard recipe requirements quite nicely. But sometimes, during the holidays especially, only a hazelnut will do.

So some concern is understandable now that the salmonella-prompted hazelnut recalls seem to be piling up. Whole Foods has recalled bulk nuts sold in California and other western stores. And that big name in impossible-to-regift gifts, Harry & David's, has joined the fray as well (though, granted, in a very small way). It's only natural for a nut-consuming public to fear a dearth of hazelnut products, a la the peanut product recalls of earlier this year.

Could panforte with candied quince be threatened? What about Tortona chocolate cookies?

Not to worry. For starters, no illnesses have been reported. Second, the Oregon Department of Agriculture has offered reassurance about the limited scope of the recalls, saying that 99% of the state's hazelnuts are unaffected.

Of note: "The hazelnuts that tested positive for salmonella were still at the Willamette Shelling facility and had not been released to consumers." And: "Out of 20 hazelnut facilities in Oregon, this is the only one that has been linked to salmonella at this time." Read more here

Here's the full, albeit small, list of recalls.

In case you've forgotten the details of the aforementioned peanut recalls -- and thus the reason for concern, the Food and Drug Administration offers one-stop shopping, with an update on the investigation, a way to search recalled products and more.

Can't be bothered to move beyond your local Whole Foods, but now craving craving hazelnuts? There's always Nutella.

Apparently it makes for an amazing Linzer cookie. Read more here.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: Don't mark panforte with candied quince off your baking list just yet, not for lack of hazelnuts anyway.

Credit: Los Angeles Times