Kraft discovered pistachio problem

FDA: Avoid nuts because of salmonella outbreak
March 31, 2009 (NORTHFIELD, Ill.) Raw nuts used in the processing of pistachios may have been the source of the salmonella contamination responsible for a nationwide recall. That's the conclusion of the California company at the center of the pistachio problem.

The contaminated pistachios were processed in central California. But Kraft Foods, headquartered in the Chicago area, discovered the salmonella outbreak. Kraft said its own auditors "observed employee practices where raw and roasted nuts were not adequately segregated and that could explain the sporadic contamination."

The Food and Drug Administration says Setton Pistachio of California is voluntarily recalling more than 2-million pounds of roaster nuts shipped since last fall. List of recalled pistachio products

"Our advice to consumers, avoid eating pistachio products, that they hold onto those products as we're learning more about this to determine if they are part of the recall," said Dr. David Acheson, assistant commissioner for food safety.

The FDA learned about the problem last Tuesday when Northfield-based Kraft Foods notified the agency that routine product testing had detected salmonella in roasted pistachios. Kraft had identified the source of the contamination to be Setton.

Calling it a "proactive move," since there have been no confirmed illnesses from this, the FDA then contacted Setton Pistachio and California health officials and the voluntary recall was soon underway.

In the Chicago area, several stores like Nuts on Clark have pulled all pistachios from shelves already-- even if the nuts didn't come from Setton. But at Windy City Nut Company in Lakeview, customers can still buy pistachios.

"I ate some last weekend and I'm still here," said Jerry Sherwood, Windy City Nut Co. owner.

Sherwood says his vendors have told him their pistachios are not affected by this.

"Over the weekend we sold a number of them. If we have to we'll pull them off," said Sherwood.

Kraft and the Georgia Nut Company recalled their Back to Nature Nantucket Blend Trail Mix last week. Kraft expanded its recall Tuesday to include any Planters and Back to Nature products that contain pistachios supplied by Setton Pistachio since September 1st.

Two people have called the FDA claiming to have gotten sick after eating pistachios, but the FDA says so far it has not confirmed those illnesses were caused by this.

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