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Company Recalls Salmonella-Tainted Pistachios

Company Recalls Salmonella-Tainted Pistachios

Elizabeth Weise | USA Today

A California company is recalling 2 million pounds of pistachios distributed nationwide after testing found them to be contaminated with salmonella. The Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers to avoid eating all pistachios and foods containing them until it can confirm which pistachios might be affected.

David Acheson, FDA associate commissioner for foods, says there have been no illnesses tied to the pistachios. This step is unrelated to the recall of peanut products tied to a widespread salmonella outbreak, he says. “This was not triggered because of an outbreak, in contrast to the peanut butter. This is an example of FDA getting out ahead of the curve,” he says. The FDA expects the number of recalled products to grow as the investigation continues. It’s likely the pistachios were also sold for use in ice cream, baked goods and other products, Acheson says. The pistachios were processed and distributed by Setton Farms of Terra Bella, Calif., a wholly owned subsidiary of Setton International Foods of Commack, N.Y. The contamination was discovered when Kraft Foods, which had purchased pistachios from Setton Farms, did routine testing as part of its internal food-safety process. Kraft informed the FDA of its findings on March 24 and initiated a recall of the product, Back to Nature Nantucket Blend trail mix, on Wednesday.

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A second recall linked to the contaminated nuts came on Friday, when the Kroger supermarket chain of Cincinnati recalled its Private Selection shelled pistachios. Setton Farms sold its pistachios in 1,000- and 2,000-pound containers to about 30 wholesalers, Acheson says. All were from the 2008 crop, harvested beginning in September. Setton is the second-largest U.S. processor of pistachios. The FDA has received two consumer complaints linked to pistachios and gastrointestinal problems, Acheson says. But there have been no tests that definitively linked those illnesses to contaminated pistachios. How the nuts were contaminated is unknown, Acheson says. They were roasted, which should have killed the bacteria, so contamination from raw pistachios in the plant is a possibility that has been suggested, he says. Setton Farms is working closely with health officials, says Jeff Farrar of the California Department of Public Health. “The firm is already turning around trucks in transit to bring them back into the facility,” he says. © Copyright 2009 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. <>

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