Pistachio Recall

March 30, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Food and Drug Administration is urging everyone to quit eating Pistachios.The warning comes after salmonella contamination was discovered in a batch of pistachios sent to a Kraft Foods plant in Wisconsin. The nuts were tracked to the Setton Pistachio Company, which is located in the Tulare County town of Terra Bella. The FDA warning against consuming all pistachios is expected to be temporary. The agency is hoping to figure out the brand names of the affected nuts in the next few days.

The nuts processed at Setton are shipped in bulk to at least 35 wholesalers all over the country, who then send them to possibly hundreds of packagers. Dr. David Acheson of the FDA addressed the situation in a nationwide telephone conference call on Monday. He said, "Our advice to consumers, avoid eating pistachio products. That they hold onto those products, they don't throw them out, as we're learning more about this to determine if they are part of the recall."

Richard Matoian of the Western Pistachio Association says the precaution is going to be tough on California's nearly 6 hundred million dollar a year Pistachio business. "I think the FDA's announcement is a confusing message at this point because they are telling consumers not to eat pistachios until more information is gathered, and while we applaud that it is going to put a damper on sales and marketing for at least a few days, if not a few weeks." Matoian said.

The Central Valley produces most of the nations pistachio crop. Setton is voluntarily recalling all of their pistachio's until the government determines which brands might be affected.

"We just hope FDA comes out very quickly with a more refined statement about which pistachio's to avoid because the vast majority of the pistachios are not tainted, they are clean and safe to eat, and that's what we want consumers to know." Matoian said.

The FDA warning is a precaution. There have been no verifiable reports of illness as the result of the possible contamination.

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