US food agency investigates pistachios for salmonella

| 01/04/2009

(CNS): UPDATE — Environmental Health Officers of the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) have now said that they are investigating for the presence of any affected products in local supermarkets, shops, wholesalers, importers and distributors, both here and the Sister Islands, regarding the US FDA warning on Pistachio issued yesterday. It said that if any affected products are found, they are to be removed immediately from supermarket shelves.

According to a release from the Food and Drug Administration the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) begani investigating Salmonella contamination in pistachio products sold by Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc, Calif. earlier this week.

The company has stopped all distribution of processed pistachios and has issued a voluntary recall involving approximately 1 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, the FDA said.

In addition, the investigation at the company is ongoing and may lead to additional pistachio product recalls.  The Cayman Islands has now also issued an alert and adivsed people to stop consuming the product.

The contamination reportedly involves multiple strains of Salmonella. Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Thus far, several illnesses have been reported by consumers that may be associated with the pistachios. It is not yet known whether any of the Salmonella strains found in the pistachio products are linked to an outbreak. The FDA is conducting genetic testing of the samples to pursue all links.

FDA is working closely with the pistachio industry and recommends that consumers avoid eating pistachio products until further information is available about the scope of affected products.

FDA will provide a searchable database of affected products at http://www.fda.gov/pistachios/ and will continue to update the public.

FDA first learned of the problem on 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 to be pistachios from Setton and conducted a recall

 

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