Pistachio Recall Progresses

FDA investigating salmonella contamination; companies pull products

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the California Department of Public Health are investigating salmonella contamination in pistachio products sold by Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc., Calif. The company has stopped all distribution of processed pistachios and will issue a voluntary recall involving approximately one million pounds of its products. Because the pistachios were used as ingredients in a variety of foods, it is likely this recall will impact many products. In addition, the investigation at the company is ongoing and may lead to additional [image-nocss] pistachio product recalls.

The contamination involves multiple strains of salmonella. Thus far, several illnesses have been reported by consumers that may be associated with the pistachios. The FDA said it is conducting genetic testing of the samples to pursue all links.

Setton Pistachio is recalling from nationwide distribution specific lots of bulk roasted shelled pistachios and 2,000-lb., 1,700-lb., 1,800 lb. and 1,000-lb. tote bags of roasted in-shell pistachios sold to wholesale customers due to potential contamination with the salmonella organism.

This recall affects certain bulk roasted in-shell and roasted shelled pistachios shipped on or after Sept. 1, 2008. The bulk product was distributed throughout the United States. The company is taking this precaution after learning that a small amount of roasted shelled pistachios processed by Setton Pistachio and received by a commercial customer in late 2008 recently tested positive for Salmonella. This voluntary recall is not in any way related to the recent recalls associated with peanuts or peanut butter.

The company is asking those firms that received bulk product and have further processed, repackaged or distributed the affected products to recall those products and contact FDA.

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. This product was distributed in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Back to Nature Foods, Frito Lay, Georgia Nut, John B. Sanfilippo, Kar Nut and Kraft Foods are among the companies recalling pistachio products.

Click herefor the FDA's page on the investigation and a full, frequently updated list of companies recalling products.