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Pistachio Processor Issues Recall for Possible Salmonella Contamination

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Setton Pistachio, a California nut grower and processor, has issued a nationwide recall of pistachios due to possible salmonella contamination. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also said the recall will include many products in which pistachios are used as ingredients. The FDA claims several illnesses have been reported in correlation with the contaminated pistachios and says consumers should avoid all pistachio products until more information becomes available. Salmonella can cause very serious, sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

The FDA learned of the problem on March 24, when Kraft Foods Inc. informed the agency that its Back to Nature Nantucket Blend trail mix was contaminated and promptly recalled it, along with almost two dozen other products under the Planters and Back to Nature brands supplied by Setton; Kraft identified Setton as the source of contamination. Kroger Co. also recalled its Private Selection shelled pistachios. Setton Pistachio distributed the recalled pistachios on or after September 1, 2008 and is also recalling its Setton Farms brand roasted, salted, shelled pistachios in nine ounce bags, distributed in seven Southeastern states with a "Best Before" date between January 6, 2010 and January 19, 2010.

Setton also supplies the pistachios sold in Wal-Mart Stores’ Sam’s Choice private brand. Although the company assured Wal-Mart that its Sam’s Choice pistachios were not part of the recall, Wal-Mart is still taking the products off the shelves in an "abundance of caution". Other companies such as Supervalu, which owns Jewel-Osco, Albertsons and other food store chains, are removing pistachios and products that contain pistachios from their shelves until more information is acquired.

Setton’s recall involves more than two million pounds of pistachios. Pistachios are used widely in the United States not only in its nut form, but also in baklava and ice cream. The pistachio recall is not connected to the recent salmonella outbreak in peanuts.