What’s the Deal with the Pistachio Recall and the Salmonella Scare?

“What’s the deal with the pistachio recall and the Salmonella scare?” Recently, we’ve been getting this question a lot, so we figured it was high time that we did something about it. Below, we’ll talk about the recent pistachio recall (as well as the peanut butter recall), and also look at the symptoms and treatment for Salmonella. When you’re finished reading, our hope is that you’ll be armed with all the information needed to answer the question, “What’s the deal with the pistachio recall and the Salmonella scare?”

What is Salmonella

To understand the severity of all the recent product recalls, it’s first important to answer the question, “What is Salmonella?” Each year, over 40,000 cases of Salmonella are reported in the United States alone, and the actual number may be 30 times greater–since minor cases aren’t usually reported.

Salmonella is found in groups of bacteria–often in the feces of people or animals–and it can lead to diarrhea in humans. More common in the summer, an estimated 400 people die each year from acute salmonellosis. The young, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are most likely to be infected.

While there isn’t a vaccine for Salmonella, most people recover completely in a matter of months. Others, however, may develop Reiter’s Syndrome, a condition which leads to joint pain, painful urination and eye irritation. Reiter’s Syndrome may also lead to chronic arthritis.

Preventing Salmonella

pistachio-salmonella-recall

There are numerous methods for preventing Salmonella. These include:

  • Avoid raw or undercooked eggs, meat or poultry.
  • Don’t drink raw or unpasteurized milk or dairy products.
  • Wash all fruits or vegetables before eating.
  • Keep uncooked meats separate from other foods.
  • In-between handling different foods, wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands before handling food.
  • Wash cutting boards, knives and other utensils after they’ve come into contact with uncooked food.
  • Always wash your hands after they’ve come into contact with animal feces (especially reptiles).

Pistachio Recall

On March 24th, the FDA was alerted by Kraft Foods that its Back to Nature Trail Mix was contaminated with Salmonella. The source of the contamination was identified as pistachios from Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc, California. A recall went into effect, and over 1 million pounds of the product have been pulled from shelves. Since the pistachios were included in numerous products, the recall will affect a wide range of items.

This comes on the heels of a recall on various brands of peanut butter and products containing peanut butter (including Keebler and Austin brand crackers). This strain of Salmonella led to hundreds of diagnosed cases throughout the United States, although most victims were expected to make a full recovery.

By this writing, all possibly infected peanut butter products have been recalled. Anything still on the shelves is not on the recall list. Care should still be taken, however, with products you might have in your kitchen cupboards. When in doubt, visit the FDA website for more information.

For up-to-the-minute information on the recall, visit http://www.fda.gov/pistachios/. This will also include news on the latest products being pulled from the market.

For More Information

For more information on the pistachio recall and Salmonella scare, you can consult the following:

  • FDA Pistachios -http://www.fda.gov/pistachios/ (This site will allow you to sign up for email updates on recalls)
  • FDA Recalls Twitter (Twitter site which allows users to receive recall information on their computer or mobile phone)
  • FDA (Visitors to the FDA’s site can get recall updates via RSS feeds.)
  • Call the FDA’s toll free number at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.
  • 1-800-CDC-INFO will put callers in contact with the Center for Disease Control’s toll-free number.