The current recall of more than one million pounds of salmonella-tainted pistachios may have its roots in contamination that happened over a year ago.
Food giant Kraft Foods told the Associated Press it discovered a salmonella-tainted batch of fruit and nuts in December 2007, and found another sample in September 2008, but couldn't identify the source of the contamination until March of this year.
It took thousands of tests to determine the source of this latest contamination were pistachios supplied by the California-based Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc., the company said. Kraft's testing found salmonella in the nuts — the only common ingredient in the second and third batch of recalled trail mixes.
Kraft spokeswoman Susan Davison said that it had not traced the source of the first positive salmonella test in 2007.
"If we did detect salmonella, of course we would never ship our products," Davidson said. "We conducted extensive testing of all our food, and we were just unable to zero in until March that pistachios were the root cause."
Kraft notified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 24 that its Back to Nature Trail Mix tested positive for salmonella. The company recalled that trail mix the following day.
The discovery triggered a nationwide recall of pistachios and prompted the FDA to warn consumers not to eat the nuts. It also exposed a loophole in the country's food safety laws: food makers are not required by federal or state laws to test the safety of their products or report any contamination findings.
Many companies, however, notify the FDA if they plan to recall the products.
"If they find problems in a product prior to shipment, they'll pull it back and destroy it," Dr. David Acheson, the FDA's assistant commissioner for food safety, told the Associated Press. "I wouldn't call that a good manufacturing practice, but that is clearly a good public health practice."
Lawmakers are now trying to close this food safety loophole, while Kraft claimed it has recalled or destroyed all the suspect products.
Here are the latest products recalled in this salmonella-tainted pistachio scare:
• Anton-Argires has recalled three of its products. The recall includes its 14oz & 16oz Roasted (No Salt) Deluxe Mixed Nuts, its 14oz & 16oz Salted Deluxe Mixed Nuts, and its 13oz Salted Pistachio Kernels. The company distributed the products in Illinois through retail stores, direct home delivery, and mail order. The recalled products have an ARGIRES logo on them. They are packaged in clear, recloseable containers (tubs) with pack dates of 08270 to 09089 (YYDDD) or 2702008 to 0892009 (DDDYYY). The UPC numbers for the products recalled include: 079003736117 (Tub Salted Pistachio Kernels 13oz), 079003743054 (Tub Deluxe Salted Mixed Nuts 14oz), 079003743061 (Tub Deluxe Salted Mixed Nuts 16oz), 079003743311 (Tub Deluxe Roasted Mixed Nuts 14oz), 0790037437078 (Tub Deluxe Salted Mixed Nuts 16oz), 079003302411 (Bag Salted Deluxe Mixed Nuts 16oz). The company has not received any reports of illnesses linked to these products. Consumers can return the nuts for a full refund. For more information, contact the company at 1-800-837.0100.);
• Nature Kist Snacks has recalled some of its Nature Kist and Holiday Nut branded in-shell salted pistachios. The company sold the products to distributors nationwide and through Internet sales. The company has not received any reports of illnesses linked to these products. Consumers can return the products to the store for a full refund. For more information, contact Nature Kist Snacks at 1-800-733-6887. The products included in the action are:
• John B. Sanfilippo and Son has expanded its recall of Archer Farms Roasted Salted Inshell Pistachios. The company distributed the recalled products under the Archer Farms Brand. They were sold exclusively in Target retail stores nationwide. The company has not received any confirmed reports of illnesses in connection with these products. Consumers can return the nuts to for a full refund. For more information, consumers can contact John B. Sanfilippo and Son, Inc. at (800) 874-8734;
• Chukar Cherry Co. of Prosser, recalled some of its Chukar brand and Norm Thompson brand products that contain shelled, roasted pistachios. The company sold the products to consumers nationwide through retail outlets, gift shops, and the company's retail stores, mail order catalog, and Internet store. The products were also sold in bulk in western Washington at REI, Ballard Market, Town & Country Market, and Central Market; in greater Chicago, IL and Troy, MI area Whole Foods; at Good Earth Natural Foods in Spearfish, SD., and at Neuchatel Chocolates in New York, NY. The recalled items include:
|UPC||Description||Size||Best By Dates|
|0 11261 08604 7||Triple Cherry Nut||16 oz tin||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 08607 8||Berry & Pistachio||16 oz tin||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 08618 4||Nuts Over Bings Mix||16 oz tin||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 08837 9||Cherry Chocolate Nut Mix||20 oz tin||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 08843 0||Triple Cherry Nut||20 oz tin||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 08845 4||Cherry & Pistachio Mix||20 oz tin||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 08945 1||Berry & Nut||20 oz tin||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 11202 9||Dark Chocolate Cherry Chocolate Nut 100% Natural Energy Mix||2 oz film bag||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 14102 9||No Sugar Added Nuts Over Bings 100% Natural Energy Mix||2 oz film bag||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 14702 1||No Sugar Added Triple Cherry Nut 100% Natural Energy Mix||2 oz film bag||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 14802 8||Dried Fruit & Nuts Berry & Pistachio 100% Natural Energy Mix||2 oz film bag||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 14803 5||Cherry, Cranberry, Roasted Nuts Berry & Pistachio||3 oz film box||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 21208 8||Dark Chocolate Cherry Chocolate Nut 100% Natural Energy Mix||8 oz film bag||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 24108 8||No Sugar Added Triple Cherry Nut 100% Natural Energy Mix||8 oz film bag||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 24208 5||No Sugar Added Cherry & Pistachio 100% Natural Energy Mix||8 oz film bag||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 24808 7||Dried Fruit & Nuts Berry & Pistachio 100% Natural Energy Mix||8 oz film bag||122009 thru 042010|
|0 11261 25008 0||No Sugar Added Nuts Over Bings All Natural Mix. No Sugar Added||8 oz film bag||122009 thru 042010|
|16013 NCLR||Norm Thompson Nuts Over Cherries||14 oz tin||December 2009|
|0 11261 94110 0||Pacific Northwest Triple Cherry Nut||5 lb ziplock bag||112009 thru 032010|
|0 11261 94810 9||Cherry, Cranberry, Roasted Nuts Berry & Pistachio||5 lb ziplock bag||112009 thru 032010|