Industry News | April 1, 2009

FDA Announces Pistachio Recall

With the peanut witch hunt finally fading from the headlines, consumers have a new food to crucify.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and California Department of Public Health, an investigation into a Salmonella contamination in pistachio products began Monday.

The administration announced the source of the contamination is Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc. located in Terra Bella, California. The company already stopped the distribution of all processed pistachios and issued a voluntary recall of about 1 million pounds of its products earlier this week.

The FDA learned about the contamination March 24 when Kraft Foods reported that its Back To Nature Trail Mix tested positive for Salmonella. The food manufacturer identified the source of the contamination to be pistachios from Setton and has since conducted a recall.

Setton is also recalling specific lots of bulk roasted pistachios and 2,000 lbs., 1,700 lbs., 1,800 lbs., and 1,000 lbs. tote bags of roasted inshell pistachios sold to wholesale customers. The recall affects products shipped on or after September 1, 2008.

So far, several illnesses have been reported to the FDA by consumers that may be associated with the pistachios.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

In addition, the company is voluntarily recalling the following retail product: Setton Farms brand roasted salted shelled pistachios in 9 oz. film bags, UPC Code: 034325020252 with a "Best Before" date between 01/06/10 and 01/19/10.

The product was distributed in the following states: South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky.

Other products affected by the recall include Frito-Lay In-Shell Pistachio Nuts, Kroger Shelled Pistachios, and Georgia Nut Company Bulk Deluxe Mixed Nuts.

This is the first pistachio recall for Setton Pistachio, which has been selling pistachios for more than 13 years.

For a full list of recalled products, visit the FDA’s Web site.

--Blair Chancey

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