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Nassau Candy Issues Recall of Pistachio Products

Apr 17, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Nassau Candy Recall

Pistachio Recall Issued By Setton Pistachio

A Long Island-based retailer is the newest casualty in the ongoing and growing pistachio recall issued by Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc, in Terra Bella California.  Newsday reports that Nassau Candy Of Hicksville is voluntarily recalling a variety of pistachio products as a precaution and in response to the multi-state Salmonella warning.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just confirmed that it identified the Salmonella strain found earlier this month at Setton Farms’ California processing facility, according to a prior piece by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy/University of Minnesota News (CIDRAP News). The pathogen’s genetic fingerprint is identical to the strain involved in the illness of a child who fell ill after eating tainted pistachios, said CIDRAP.

The FDA said it determined that three environmental samples and one finished product sample obtained during inspection of Setton Pistachio tested positive for Salmonella and with the same type—Salmonella Montevideo—and genetic fingerprint found in all the samples. The FDA also said it provided PulseNet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) database of bacterial DNA fingerprints, with the fingerprints of the strains found in the company’s products.  Some DNA fingerprints from the Salmonella-tainted pistachio products match those strains from recently ill persons whose information is in the database.

Child Developed Gastroenteritis Consumed Pistachio

In addition to matching a stool sample in the child who developed gastroenteritis and who is also reported to have consumed pistachios that originated from Setton Pistachio, this specific Salmonella fingerprint matches a number of other clinical isolates in the data base, said the FDA. The CDC is investigating whether the other cases infected with this strain of Salmonella have had exposure to Setton pistachios.

Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. is the second-largest supplier of pistachios in the country and sells its nuts to Kraft Foods Inc. and 35 other wholesalers nationwide, making it difficult to determine exactly how may products are affected.  The Salmonella Montevideo strain is the same strain Kraft Foods found in products supplied by Setton, according to an earlier Wall Street Journal.  Late last month Setton Farms recalled certain lots of its pistachios after Kraft Foods identified four Salmonella strains, including the Montevideo isolates, in its pistachios, said CIDRAP. The recall was expanded early this month after the FDA said it found Salmonella at Setton’s California facility, resulting in nearly 500 product recalls, to date, initiated by companies supplied with Setton Farms’ pistachios.

Samonella was in Kraft Foods pistachios over six months ago, but the firm did not advise its supplier, Setton Pistachio, until late last month, said the Associated Press (AP) in a previous article.  Lee Cohen, production manager for Setton’s sister plant, said its pistachios tested positive for salmonella in the Kraft product last September and were found in a mix containing fruits and nuts as well as Salmonella-tainted cherries, reported the AP. After another Kraft manufacturer in Illinois found Salmonella in some pistachios last month, Setton Pistachio recalled over two million pounds of its roasted pistachios. Setton Pistachio claimed it never intentionally provided tainted nuts to Kraft.

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.

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