Salmonella Worries Spark Another Pistachio Warning

A <"">Salmonella threat has prompted the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to warn consumers not to eat pistachios sold under the brand names California Prime Produce and Orange County Orchards. According to the FDA, the pistachios were recalled by Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc., but received and repacked by Orca Distribution West Inc., of Anaheim, California.

More than 600 pistachio products that originated with Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella have been recalled. Setton began recalling pistachios in March, and the recall eventually expanded to include all roasted shelled pistachios and roasted in-shell pistachios from its 2008 crop due to potential contamination with the Salmonella organism. The company also recalled raw shelled pistachios from the 2008 crop that are not subsequently roasted prior to retail sale.

Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. is the second-biggest supplier of pistachios in the U.S. It sells its nuts to Kraft Foods Inc. and 35 other wholesalers across the country. The company sent recall notices to its commercial customers who received recalled bulk products with instructions for returning or destroying the recalled products and for notifying their customers of the recall. Firms that had further mixed, used as ingredients, repackaged, or distributed the recalled bulk products were also advised to recall those products.

According to a notice on the agency’s website, the FDA visited Orca as part of its audit checks to follow up on Setton Pistachio’s recall. The FDA found that products subject to Setton Pistachio’s recall had been repacked and distributed by Orca under the California Prime Produce and Orange County Orchards brands. Orca has not made a public announcement regarding these products. Therefore, the FDA is alerting consumers so that they can take appropriate action.

The products were distributed to retail locations in airports and hotels nationwide. The California Prime Produce and Orange County Orchards brands of pistachios were packaged in clear 6 ounce flexible plastic Ziploc bags, UPC Number: 8 10826 01116 2 with Sell By Dates of 7/30/09 and 8/30/09. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to eat them.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

To date, the FDA says there is no conclusive evidence that links the recalled Setton pistachio products to cases of human illness, although a connection cannot be completely ruled out.

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