California plant could be source of pistachio salmonella contamination - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

California plant could be source of pistachio salmonella contamination

Calif. - Health officials are focusing on a California nut processing company to determine the source of a salmonella contamination in pistachios that led to a nationwide recall.

A few illnesses have been reported, but so far none have been directly linked to the plant. Meantime, pistachio growers in the region are preparing for a financial hit due to the FDA's blanket warning about eating pistachios.

Setton Pistachio has voluntarily recalled a million pounds of nuts and they're not shipping anything from this plant in Tulare County until the FDA figures out how some of Setton's pistachios tested positive for potentially deadly salmonella.

The FDA's Dr. David Acheson says "today we are making contact with those facilities to find out: did they receive product and what did they do with it?"

The FDA's going through the company's safety and hygiene records and re-testing samples.

Scott Hair of Green Frog Markets says "but there are no other product recalls out right now, they have nothing identified just yet."

That's why Scott Hair of Green Frog Markets says pistachios grown locally and other foods containing pistachios are still on the shelves at green frog markets.

Scott says "the second we have a notification that we can sink our teeth into as to where to the contamination is, and what products that need to come off the shelf, we'll pull them off the shelf. The last thing we want is a sick or dead customer: they don't come back."

The pistachios were sold in bulk to other companies and may have been processed into things like ice cream, and that's why the FDA is warning consumers to just take caution.

Matt Constantine, a local Environmental Health Services Director, says "at this early stage, the FDA is recommending that all pistachios be avoided."

It could cost local growers millions.

Ruben Arroyo, the Kern County Agriculture Commissioner, says "it's our number 6 ranked commodity here in Kern County, with value of $274 million, we have close to 50,000 acres in Kern County."

Richard Matoian of the Western Pistachio Association says "we just ask consumers to not throw away the product to wait until the FDA has fully identified all of the products that have been affected by this recall and then at that point they can make a determination if they have tainted product or not."

Owners of Setton Farms says the salmonella contamination could have come from raw being mixed with processed ones.
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