(March 31, 10:10 a.m.) Federal food safety officials are warning consumers not to eat pistachios nearly a week after Kraft Foods found one of its products containing pistachios was contaminated with salmonella.
The Food and Drug Administration and California Department of Public Health March 30 announced an investigation of salmonella in pistachio products sold by California processor Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc. The company said it would stop distributing processed pistachios and voluntarily recall about one million pounds of its products.
It is likely the recall will affect many products, because pistachios were used as ingredients in a variety of foods. According to the release, the investigation is ongoing and could lead to additional product recalls.
The contamination in the pistachios involves multiple strains of salmonella, according to the release. As of March 31, several illnesses were reported by that might be associated with pistachios. It was not known whether any of the salmonella strains found in the pistachio products are linked to an outbreak, according to the release.
“Our advice to consumers is that they avoid eating pistachio products and that they hold onto those products,” David Acheson, the FDA’s assistant commissioner for food safety, told the Associated Press. “The number of products that are going to be recalled over the coming days will grow, simply because these pistachio nuts have been repackaged into consumer-level containers.”
On March 27, grocer Kroger Co. recalled one of its lines of bagged pistachios because of possible contamination, saying Setton also supplied its nuts, according to the Associated Press. Those nuts were sold in 31 states.
This comes on the heels of a national salmonella outbreak involving peanut products, but the FDA said the two events were not related. That outbreak, which is linked to nine deaths and sickened more than 690 people in 46 states, is ongoing, and nearly 3,900 products made with peanut ingredients from Georgia-based Peanut Corp. of America have been recalled.
According to the release, the FDA first learned of the problem with pistachios March 24 when it was informed by Kraft Foods that its Back To Nature Trail Mix was found to be contaminated with salmonella. Kraft had identified the source of the contamination as pistachios from Setton and recalled those products.
The FDA will provide a searchable database of affected products at www.fda.gov and will continue updating the public.