Whole Foods Pulls Pistachios; FDA Warns Consumers Not To Eat The Nuts

April 2, 2009

A recall of pistachios and related products possibly contaminated with salmonella has expanded, including products sold at Harris County grocery stores.


Whole Foods Market has announced a voluntary recall of its 365 Everyday Value brand in-shell dry roasted and salted pistachios.


The nuts are in 16-oz/ packages with “Best Before” dates of 07/08/2009

GL1 07/08/2009 GL2, and 11/27/2009 GL1. The packages also bear “Universal Product Code (UPC) of 99482-40435.”


Also, Kroger Co. has expanded its Friday recall of “Private Selection Shelled Pistachios.


The newly recalled products are in 10-ounce containers dated “JAN-14-10, FEB-10-10, FEB-11-10 and MAR-23-10 with this UPC Code: 11110 73615,” the company said. The company already has recalled similar containers dated

“DEC-13-09 and DEC-14-09 with this UPC Code: 11110 73615.”


The pistachios are believed to have been processed at a Terra Bella, Calif. plant owned by Setton International Foods of Commack, N.Y.


Internal inspections of products by Kraft Foods turned up evidence that the Setton pistachios contained what the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed are four strains of salmonella.


Setton has issued a recall of about 1 million pounds of pistachios mostly sold in bulk to wholesalers, and has halted distribution from its California plant, according to the FDA.


Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. Healthy people infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare cases, salmonella infection can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.


The FDA has advised people not to eat any pistachios or pistachio products, regardless of brand or processor, “because at this stage of the investigation FDA does not know which foods contain the recalled pistachios… Until the distribution chain of the recalled pistachios is identified, consumers should avoid all brands of pistachios and food made with pistachios.”


Despite the agency’s warning, local groceries are offering a variety of pistachio products for sale, including large bags of in-shell roasted pistachios offered at discount.


A press spokesman for Randalls owner Safeway Inc. could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.


Unlike the recent recall of salmonella-contaminated peanut butter and peanut products, which sickened hundreds of people nationwide and is believed to have contributed to nine deaths, no cases of salmonella poisoning have yet been tied to the pistachio recall.


However, FDA officials said the agency “has received several consumer complaints of illness after eating pistachio products, and the agency is investigating these reports to determine if any of them are associated with pistachios from Setton.”


In addition to the Kroger and Whole Foods recalls, other pistachio products recalled over the past two days include:


– Kar’s Pistachios, in various sizes of bags and 7-pound barrels; and the company’s Second Nature California Medley.


– John B. Sanfilippo and Son Inc.’s Fisher Brand pistachios in 1.75-oz.

bags, and Fisher brand National California pistachios in bulk containers weighing 25 pounds.


– Frito-Lay brand in-shell salted pistachios in 1.75-oz. packages.


– Kraft’s Planters Dry Roasted Pistachios and various other Planters products containing pistachios.


For more details on the above and other recalled pistachio products, this FDA web page.