- A recent salmonella scare involving pistachios traces its origins to raw, unprocessed nuts during the processing phase, as per claims from a Californian based nut production company.
- Investigations are currently actively underway by the US Food and Drug Administration focused on a potential contamination of up to a million pounds of pistachios across a minimum of 31 states.
- While not yet linked to an outbreak, consumers are currently advised not to consume any pistachio products at the moment until further notice.
- Some consumers have reported gastrointestinal issues speculatively linked to the recalled pistachios, but no conclusive evidence has been provided.
- This event is part of a broader trend of nut products being affected by salmonella, with the most recent examples pertaining to peanuts and peanut products.
In a recent turn of events, the source of salmonella found in large quantities of recalled pistachios is speculated to have originated from raw, unprocessed nuts during the processing phase at a Californian facility. This comes according to claims from the company responsible for the nut production.
According to Lee Cohen, a production manager at Setton International Foods Inc. situated at Terra Bella, California, the company has reasons to believe that traces of salmonella bacteria from raw nuts mixed with roasted pistachios being sold to a widely known food company. Cohen confirmed that the contamination was not due to any human or animal factor, as reported by the Associated Press.
Moreover, it has been reported that foods containing pistachios supplied by Setton after the 1st of September are being recalled for safety reasons.
It was announced recently by officials from the US Food and Drug Administration that they are actively investigating a salmonella contamination case potentially involving up to a million pounds of pistachios sold across minimum 31 states.
The officials clarified that the current contamination issue is unrelated with the recent salmonella scare amongst peanuts. However, consumers are advised to avoid consuming any pistachio products until further notice.
Salmonella Issue Not Linked to any Outbreak
“We are not facing an outbreak,” Dr. David Acheson, associate commissioner for foods at the FDA, stated. “This is a precautionary measure adopted by the firm to recall the tainted product, and has no connection with any outbreak. It is a result of industry partaking in proactive sampling.”
Acheson also informed that the California Department of Public Health is partaking in the investigation process. Setton Farms, based on the findings, decided to recall certain pistachio nuts.
Investigations are specifically focusing on the pistachios packaged at the Terra Bella plant. Fears of contamination were sparked by routine analysis conducted by an external company, and subsequent findings of multiple salmonella types.
Acheson recounted that, on March 24th, the FDA was alerted upon by a popular food company and a recalling of its trail mix product was initiated.
Setton Farms provides large quantities of pistachios to various wholesalers who are responsible for repackaging or reselling the nuts. It is quite likely that the recall numbers will hike in the coming days due to repackaged pistachios now in consumer level containers.
According to Acheson, Setton Farms also supplied pistachios to Kroger Co., a grocery firm, which has already declared a product recall. These nuts were being sold across 31 states, as released in an Associated Press report.
Consumer Complaints and Illness
Some customers have complained about these products causing gastrointestinal issues. However, this does not conclusively prove that illness was caused by the product consumption. The FDA recommends avoiding any consumption of pistachio products for the time being, but suggests holding on to these products until it’s clear which ones are affected.
This year already saw nut products being tainted with salmonella. In January, a criminal investigation was launched into a salmonella outbreak linked to contaminated peanut items that resulted in nearly 700 people getting sick and might have led to a minimum of nine deaths. The focus was on probable criminal violations at a Georgia processing plant owned by Peanut Corp. of America (PCA), which knowingly distributed peanut butter and paste products that had tested positive for salmonella.
An additional warning was issued last month by FDA officials against consuming any peanuts or peanut products sold by Westco Fruit and Nuts Inc. The fear was that these products might be contaminated with salmonella, and the peanuts used may have been sourced from PCA.
For more details on salmonella, you can visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.