If you enjoy nuts, you might want to sit up and take notice. Most have heard the recently publicized incidences of tainted peanuts being recalled, but peanuts are not alone in being a current public health issue. Pistachios are also up on the table as a health hazard.
According to a report by Fox News, pistachios contaminated with salmonella have been recalled by the Kraft company. Setton International Foods, Inc., the manufacturer of the nuts in questions confirmed that Kraft officials knew of the contamination in batches of pistachio nuts as early as September 2008 and are just now recalling nuts. The recall, they said, was in conjunction with a second positive testing of salmonella in a batch of pistachios. No recall was done for the first testing of nuts that showed evidence of contamination.
The company itself serves 38 states. It should also be noted that the first batch of contaminated pistachios were discovered at a sister company, Setten Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. The first testing in September of 2008 was discovered when a batch of Kraft snack mix underwent the procedure and returned positive results for salmonella.
The Food and Drug Administration spokesperson and safety official Dr. Acheson said he believes the batch of tainted snack mix was either recalled or destroyed. His response, though, doesn’t give conclusive proof as to the fate of that snack mix.
Setton International Foods raised further eyebrows when a spokesperson and production manager, Lee Cohen, stated that Setton Pistachio was not informed of the September 2008 incidence of salmonella until last week, after the second test showed positive for salmonella.
Kraft, a company that produces a multitude of convenience foods, is said not to have responded immediately to messages seeking comments about the situation from the journalists who covered this story. It is unclear whether or not any comment from Kraft has been given in conjunction with the tainted pistachio nuts or if Kraft ever confirmed what happened to the first batch to test positive.
The only conclusion one can have concerning this issue is to use caution when consuming pistachios or peanuts given the reports of such occurrences at this time. It is far better to refrain from consuming these products than to become a victim of food poisoning.
For those who are unsure what salmonella is, it is a bacteria that is harmful to humans. It creates illness associated with food poisoning and is easily transferred by improper cleaning of surfaces from use by multiple products. Salmonella is naturally occuring in chicken, which is why chicken must be thoroughly cooked. Surfaces that come into contact with raw chicken should be cleaned thoroughly with a cleaner known to kill the salmonella bacteria, such as chlorine. Salmonella is also destroyed when high heat is present as happens in cooking. This is why chicken is still a safe food to eat when fully cooked.