Signs of Salmonella Date Back to 2007
by Matthew Madia
Apr 7, 2009
The latest salmonella scare, this one tied to contaminated pistachios from California, has, thankfully, not proven to be a major public health crisis like the months-old peanut scandal.
But an examination of the facts can be just as frustrating. Last week, Setton Pistachio recalled 2 million pounds of pistachios. Yesterday, after investigators determined the problem to be more severe than originally thought, Setton “significantly expanded its recall,” according to The Washington Post. No quantification is provided on FDA’s website, but, based on the list of products, it appears to be significant indeed.
As it turns out, this case of salmonella contamination could have been headed off at the pass. From The Post:
The FDA learned about problems at Setton Pistachio on March 23 when it was notified by Kraft Foods that its internal testing found four strains of salmonella in a trail mix made with Setton's pistachios. Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the food giant said that it had actually detected salmonella in its trail mix as early as December 2007, but that it took 15 months to link it to the pistachios.
Kraft spokeswoman Susan Davidson said Georgia Nut, which makes the trail mix under a contract with Kraft, found salmonella in samples on four occasions between December 2007 and last month. In each case, Kraft destroyed the suspect product and Georgia Nut tested its equipment and raw ingredients to try to identify the source of the contamination, Davidson said.
Kraft did not notify the FDA about the earlier test results because none of the affected products entered the food supply, she said.
Post writer Lyndsey Layton follows the passage with this painfully droll observation: “Under state and federal law, neither Kraft nor Georgia Nut are required to notify regulators about internal tests that show a food contaminated with bacteria.”
Oh by the way, Setton’s recall is voluntary, because FDA does not possess mandatory recall authority.back to Blog