Pistachios Pose Latest Salmonella Threat

Government and industry officials moved quickly to try to combat the latest threat of salmonella involving pistachios. This new scare follows a costly and deadly salmonella outbreak caused by contaminated peanut butter products.

Public health agencies were alerted across the country to be on the lookout for suspicious stomach illnesses before federal regulators publicly announced a massive recall of pistachios.

Dr. David Acheson, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s commissioner said that the agency’s tactic of announcing a recall before illnesses occur is rarely used and is meant to stay “ahead of the curve.”

There has not been a wave of salmonella outbreaks linked to pistachios reported yet. This contamination is therefore quite different than the peanut salmonella, which has been attributed to nine deaths and 700 poisonings across the country.

Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, California, started to voluntarily pull its products from distribution centers and retail stores on Monday. The recall occurred after its pistachios were found to contain strains of salmonella. Georgia Nut Co., a company that purchases nuts from Setton was doing routine internal testing when it discovered the strains of salmonella. The FDA was notified.

Experts believe that a more aggressive and proactive approach to contamination will help change the notion that the FDA simply reacts to contamination after consumers start becoming ill.