Setton Pistachios Salmonella OutbreakWhen the presence of Salmonella was detected by a wholesale customer of Setton Pistachios/Terra Bella Inc of California, the company voluntarily recalled certain lots of roasted pistachios. When information from the joint FDA and California Department of Public Health inspection indicated the presence of Salmonella in critical areas of the facility (which could have caused cross contamination) the firm decided to expand its recall.
The expanded recall of roasted pistachios includes all lots of roasted in-shell pistachios and roasted shelled pistachios that were produced from nuts harvested in 2008. The firm is also recalling those raw shelled pistachios from the 2008 crop that are not subsequently roasted prior to retail sale.
The FDA has now determined that three environmental samples and one finished product sample obtained during the inspection of Setton Pistachio Inc. were positive for Salmonella Montevideo. Some of the DNA fingerprints of the Salmonella strains from the pistachio products match the DNA fingerprints of Salmonella strains from recently ill persons already in the PulseNet database. Because the strain of Salmonella Montevideo is fairly common, it is possible that these illnesses could have another source. About 50 persons have been sickened with Salmonella Montevideo since September, but that is not out of line with other years. Health authorities are investigating to see if the patients had any contact with Setton pistachios.
Because the pistachios were used as ingredients in a variety of foods, this expanded recall will affect many products and is expected to result in other recalls. The FDA has created a searchable database of recalled products and will continue to update the public as its investigation progresses. Consumers should not eat pistachios or food products containing them (such as pistachio bakery goods and pistachio ice cream) until they can determine that the products do not contain pistachios recalled by Setton.
The recall is not related to the Peanut Corporation of America recall, which has involved 3800 products and millions of pounds of peanuts. However similarities may surface as the potentially tainted pistachios are traced to retail and wholesale outlets, and the products they have been used in are also recalled.
Salmonella is a bacterium that causes one of the most common intestinal illnesses in the US: salmonellosis infection. It can be present in uncooked or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, or unpasturized dairy products, as well as other foods contaminated during harvest, production, or packaging.
Symptoms can begin 6 to 72 hours from consumption, and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting. Dehydration is a concern, especially with the elderly, very young, or immune compromised.
Consumers should ask their healthcare providers to culture a stool sample. The culture will indicate if salmonella is present and can assist in determining if the illness is part of a larger outbreak.
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