FDA: Pistachios Could Cause Illness

By: KKTV/Associated Press
By: KKTV/Associated Press

Federal officials are warning people not to eat any food containing pistachios. That, after two people called the FDA complaining of gastrointestinal illness that could be associated with the nuts.

The government says California-based Setton Pistachio is voluntarily recalling more than 2 million pounds of its roasted nuts shipped since last fall. Setton is the nation's second-largest pistachio processor.

California health officials say because Setton Pistachio shipped tote bags of nuts weighing up to 2,000 pounds to 36 wholesalers across the country, it will take weeks to figure out how many products could be affected.

Below is the full information release sent out by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Tuesday announced a pistachio recall associated with Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. The firm announced it is voluntarily recalling from nationwide distribution specific lots of bulk roasted shelled pistachios and 2,000-, 1,700-, 1,800- and 1,000-pound tote bags of roasted in-shell pistachios sold to wholesale customers due to potential contamination with Salmonella.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that, because the pistachios were used as ingredients in a variety of foods, it is likely this recall will impact many products. FDA is working closely with the pistachio industry and recommends that consumers avoid eating pistachio products until further information is available about the scope of affected products. This recall is not related to the recent recalls associated with peanuts or peanut butter.

The recall affects certain bulk roasted in-shell and roasted shelled pistachios shipped on or after September 1, 2008 and distributed throughout the United States. The company is voluntarily taking this precautionary measure after learning that a small amount of roasted shelled pistachios processed by Setton Pistachio and received by a commercial customer in late 2008 recently tested positive for Salmonella.

Also associated with the pistachio recall, Kroger Company has voluntarily recalled its Private Selection® Shelled Pistachios sold in its family of retail stores because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella. The product is sold in 10-ounce containers with a "sell by" date of DEC-13-09 and DEC-14-09 with UPC Code 11110 73615 and was distributed to retail stores nationwide.

In Colorado, recalled product was distributed to King Soopers and City Market stores statewide. All product known to be part of the recall has reportedly been pulled from shelves of Colorado stores (King Soopers/City Market), however consumers may have recalled products in their homes.

There have not been any reported cases of illness associated with these products in Colorado or other states.

FDA first learned of the problem on March 24, when it was informed by Kraft Foods that its Back To Nature Trail Mix was found to be contaminated with Salmonella. Kraft had identified the source of the contamination to be pistachios from Setton and conducted a recall.

Customers who have recently purchased pistachios from Kings Soopers or City Market should not consume the product and return it to a store for a full refund. Consumers who have questions about the above recall may contact Kroger toll-free at 800-697-2448. For more information, you can click on the link below.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, particularly in young children, the elderly and persons with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and/or abdominal pain. For more information on symptoms and treatment, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site by clicking on their link posted below.

The FDA will also be providing a searchable database of affected products. You can visit the FDA's website by clicking on their link posted below.

Copyright 2006 Gray Television Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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