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April 3, 2009

US: NY affiliate of Setton Pistachio issues recall

A New York-based affiliate of Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, the Californian firm at the centre of the latest salmonella contamination to hit the US food industry, has today (3 April) recalled a clutch of products.

A New York-based affiliate of Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, the Californian firm at the centre of the latest salmonella contamination to hit the US food industry, has today (3 April) recalled a clutch of products.


Setton International Foods buys pistachios from the Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella site in California that has been linked to possible salmonella contamination and to the recall of scores of products across the US.


Among the 118,000lbs of pistachio products recalled by Setton International Foods are chocolate-covered pistachios and mixed nuts sold in 18 US states and Canada under the Setton Farms brand.


Last month, New York state officials inspected Setton International’s Commack facility and advised the company to take some action in certain parts of the plant. Reports have claimed that the officials found cockroaches and rodent droppings.


Setton International told just-food today that the facility is “maintained in accordance to accepted industry standards” and insisted that state and FDA officials had made no mention of activity relating to insects or rodents.


“When the March 2009 New York state inspection made observations about some conditions in non-food processing areas of the facility, Setton International Foods immediately undertook corrective action,” the company said.


“In the past week, in fact, Setton International Foods has had both New York state and FDA inspectors at the facility; at no time, did they mention that they had identified any insect or rodent activity.  This was no surprise to us, of course, as we are vigilant in our pest-control regimen.”


Reports in the US have claimed that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently investigating Setton International’s plant in Commack, New York.


When questioned on the reports, the Setton International spokesman told just-food: “Setton International Foods is conducting a voluntary recall in full cooperation with the FDA; and, as with any such recall, FDA is involved.”


Setton International “shares some ownership” with Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, the second-largest pistachio processor in the US, the spokesman for the New York-based firm said.


The recall from the Commack facility equates to less than 2% of the products handled by Setton International.


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.


No illnesses have been linked to the contamination.


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.


The outbreak sickened more than 680 people in 46 states and in Canada and resulted in nine deaths.

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