Just in time for the Christmas holidays, nutmeg has been recalled. Unlike the seasonally inopportune great canned pumpkin shortage of November 2009, nutmeg will be scarce for at least a little while thanks to a potential salmonella contamination. And trust me on this one: You do not want salmonella poisoning.
Ground nutmeg processed by the Mincing Overseas Spice Company out of New Jersey and sold under the Whole Foods 365 label or the Frontier label is the specific target of the nutmeg recall. The spice was apparently contaminated somewhere between its arrival in New Jersey from Indonesia and its shipment to Whole Foods and other grocery stores across the country.
Luckily, that seems to be the worst of the matter. Commenting on the situation via email, Whole Foods' Ashley Hawkins said of the contamination that "no illnesses have been reported." Still, any "bad" nutmeg you have on hand needs to be tossed.
But before you go throwing away perfectly good spices willy-nilly, check to see if your ground nutmeg is from one of those two labels and if it has the following product numbers on it:
- Frontier Bulk Nutmeg Ground 16.00 oz. 0-89836-00165-8 0306
- Whole Foods 365 Nutmeg Ground 1.92 oz. 0-99482-41931-8 0321
So what to do if you have some of this nutmeg in your cupboard? According to Hawkins, "Customers can return the products to Whole Foods Market stores and get a full refund or store credit. Whole Foods Market has removed the recalled products from our store shelves. We have posted signage in the spice aisles and bulk spice areas alerting customers of the recall."
Of course, if you don't want to waste all that nutmeg, you could always try smoking it. (Not really. Please don't do that.)