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April 7, 2009

US: FDA finds salmonella in Setton Ca. plant

US food safety officials have discovered salmonella at Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella's plant in California, which last week set off a nationwide recall of pistachios in the country.

US food safety officials have discovered salmonella at Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella’s plant in California, which last week set off a nationwide recall of pistachios in the country.

The US Food and Drug Administration said an inspection had indicated salmonella was present in “critical areas” of the facility.

The FDA said the investigation had found the “potential for cross-contamination between raw and roasted peanuts”.

Once Setton heard of the inspection’s findings, the company yesterday (6 April) expanded its recall of pistachios processed at the plant.

The company’s recall now includes all roasted  shelled pistachios and roasted in-shell pistachios from its 2008 crop. Setton said it was also pulling raw shelled pistachios from the crop that were not roasted prior to sale.

The firm said its raw in-shell pistachio shipments are not affected by the recall and that, to date, there had been no confirmed illnesses linked to its products.

“Until the investigation is complete, it would be inappropriate for the company to make any statements about the investigation or engage in speculation. The company is working closely with the FDA on this matter and is cooperating fully,” the company told just-food.

A number of US food manufacturers and retailers have recalled products since salmonella contamination was detected in pistachios from the Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella site in California.

Kraft Foods uncovered the salmonella contamination when it tested products containing pistachios from the site and recalled Planters and Back to Nature lines containing pistachio nuts.

Elsewhere, Pepsi-Co’s Frito-Lay, nut maker John B. Sanfilippo and Son and retailers Kroger and Publix Super Markets have been among the companies to recall products.

Earlier this year, an outbreak of a different strain of salmonella swept the US after peanut and peanut butter products made by Peanut Corporation of America became contaminated. That outbreak sickened more than 680 people in 46 states and in Canada and resulted in nine deaths.

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