Pistachio Salmonella Probe Turns to Commack, New York ProcessorApr 3, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Massive Recall Of Salmonella-Tainted Pistachios
A processing plant in Commack, New York is being investigated following a massive recall of potentially salmonella-tainted pistachios. According to a Newsday report, the Setton Foods International facility on Long Island failed a state sanitary inspection last month. The Associated Press is reporting that the plant has stopped shipping pistachios.
Earlier this week, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced pistachios processed by Setton of Terra Bella Inc. - an affiliate of the Long Island facility - might be tainted with salmonella. The California-based company initiated a recall for one million pounds of the nuts, and food firms supplied by Setton of Terra Bella - including Kraft, Frito-Lay and Kroger Inc. - have recalled products made with pistachios.
In its health alert, the FDA said the pistachio contamination 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. 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.
Pistachio Recall Will Impact Many 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. According to a report on ABCNews.com, Setton of Bella Terra shipped tote bags of nuts weighing up to 2,000 pounds to 36 wholesalers across the country. The FDA has set up a searchable database to help consumers track pistachio recalls.
According to Newsday, during an inspection of Setton's Commack plant last month, investigators from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets found both live and dead cockroaches, as well as rodent feces. Sixteen other less serious infractions were also found. That inspection occurred on March 3, but the company continued to ship products from the plant until it received the state's inspection report.
Newsday reported that the problems at Setton Foods are not related to the current pistachio recall, and state officials said no evidence of salmonella was found at the Long Island plant. However, officials at the Commack plant said statement in a statement last night that a voluntary recall related to the pistachio problems will be issued soon, Newsday said.
According to Newsday, inspectors from the FDA's Brooklyn office are expected to visit the Setton Foods plant in Commack soon as part of the agency's investigation of contaminated pistachios.
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