Pistachio Salmonella Food Poisoning Scare Widens Recall

Following a pistachio recall issued for about one million pounds of nuts, more than 77 products sold under 21 brand names have been recalled and the FDA has warned consumers to stop eating any products that contain pistachio, as they may cause salmonella food poisoning.

The pistachio recall was first announced on March 31, 2009, involving all nuts processed by Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. at a plant in California. The nuts, both inshell and shelled pistachios, were mainly distributed in bulk bags to other manufacturers who used them in a variety of different products.

The salmonella contamination was found by Kraft in some of their “Back to Nature” Trail Mix during routine testing procedures.

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Although there have been no reported illnesses linked to the pistachio nuts, concerns about salmonella food poisoning have resulted in the FDA urging consumers to refrain from eating all pistachio, since the scope of the distribution of the nuts is not fully known at this time.

So far, around 77 different products sold under brand names like Frito-Lay, Fisher, Planters and Kraft, have been recalled, including standalone pistachio nuts, mixed nuts, trail mixes and other products containing pistachio nut, including cakes and ice creams.

Health officials have taken prompt actions to notify the public about the potential risks associated with the pistachios after a recent peanut butter salmonella outbreak resulted in hundreds of reported cases of food poisoning and led to the recall of nearly 4,000 products which received their peanuts from the same processing plant.

The FDA has established a website with updated information about the products involved in the recall at http://www.fda.gov/pistachios/.

While all of the recalled pistachios were processed at a plant in central California, the FDA has indicated that they are also looking into issues at a plant ini New York which is owned by the same parent company and shares certain staff with the California plant. Inspectors found cockroaches and rodent droppings during a visit to the New York plant last month.

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