Saturday, March 28, 2009

Salmonella-contaminated Pistachios Traced to California Firm

March 28, 2009

The California Department of Public Health reported late yesterday that it, together with federal authorities, is inspecting the pistachio processing premises of Setton Farms, located in Terra Bella, California. 

The joint action comes after The Georgia Nut Company, The Back to Nature Foods Company (a Kraft company) and The Kroger Company recalled a number of trail mixes and mixed nut products that contained Salmonella-contaminated pistachios. Pistachios from Setton Farms were used in the Georgia Nut and Back to Nature mixes. 

According to the CDPH news release, Setton Farms is initiating a recall of three lots of roasted pistachios that are linked to the Salmonella-contaminated trail mixes.

Setton Farms began life as a Brooklyn, NY bakery in 1959, and expanded into the gourmet dried fruit and nut business. Setton Pistachio Company, Inc. was formed in California in 1986. And in 1995, the company acquired Dole's pistachio processing and packaging plant in Terra Bella, CA – the facility that is now being inspected by state and federal investigators.

This incident is an illustration of the importance of traceability to a swift and effective response to a food contamination issue. Last week, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services released an audit report on Traceability in the Food Supply Chain. The OIG reported that it was able to trace only five out of 40 products through the entire length of the food supply chain. 

Fortunately, the traceability system appears to be working in this pistachio incident – at least so far. The origin of the Salmonella-contaminated pistachios was quickly determined. We don't yet know whether the forward tracing of pistachios supplied by Setton Farms to other customers, and thence to retailers, will function equally well.

There may be several more recalls of pistachio-containing trail mixes, depending on which Setton Farms customers received nuts from the three lots that are being recalled. Please monitor the eFoodAlert Recall Roundup for daily updates on these – and other – recall notices.

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  1. Has any update from anyone/anywhere come up as to was the nuts Salmonella + and source of the contamination.
    Was it the raw nuts near the finished nuts which posed a cross contamination issue or was their a commingling issue or was salmonealla found in the raw and roasted nuts?
    Was salmonealla found in the groves?
    Please advise

  2. Please see my May 11th post for the answer to these questions.


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