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What Is FDA Advising Consumers Regarding Pistachios and Pistachio Products
Updated: April 7, 2009

What Is FDA Advising Consumers Regarding Pistachios and Pistachio Products?

FDA is advising consumers not to eat pistachios or food products containing them (such as pistachio bakery goods and pistachio ice cream) unless they can determine that the products do not contain pistachios from Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc., ("Setton").   The FDA consumer alert is available at this link:  http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2009/NEW01982.html.  Until FDA is able to provide more information, consumers should not eat any Setton pistachios or products that contain them.

How Can Consumers Get Information About Which Products Contain Pistachios from Setton?

Consumers can contact the retailer from whom they purchased the product or the manufacturer of the product to ask if the product contains Setton pistachios.  Consumers also can obtain the latest FDA advice on pistachios and information about what products have been recalled from the FDA website. The agency has established a special webpage to provide the latest information, including a searchable database of products under recall. The webpage is available by clickable icon on the opening page of the FDA website, and at this direct link: http://www.fda.gov/pistachios/.   The page is updated frequently with information about additional products being recalled, but does not reflect all products that contain pistachios from Setton.

Are the number of products being recalled expected to grow?

Yes. On March 30, 2009 Setton announced it was recalling selected lots of pistachios processed on or after September 1, 2008.  However, on April 6, 2009, Setton announced that it was expanding its recall to include all roasted in-shell pistachios, roasted shelled pistachios, and raw pistachios from the 2008 crop that are not subsequently roasted prior to retail sale. It is expected that this will result in additional recalls by companies that used Setton's pistachios in their products.

What Should Consumers Do With Pistachios and Pistachio Products They Have on Hand?

Consumers should store pistachios and pistachio products in their homes, away from children, until it can be determined whether or not the products contain Setton pistachios.  At this time FDA is advising consumers not eat any Setton pistachios or products that contain them.  FDA will update this advice as its investigation progresses.

Should Consumers With Pistachios on Hand Use Them in Other Food Products Like Cookies and Cakes?

FDA recommends that consumers not use pistachios on hand in making home-baked goods or in other food items prepared in their homes, unless they determine that the pistachios are not from Setton.

Are any Consumer Sicknesses Connected with Setton Pistachios?

At this time, neither the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor state health departments have reported any consumer illnesses directly connected with Setton pistachios. FDA, in cooperation with the states and CDC, is increasing public health surveillance for any illnesses that may be directly associated with pistachios from Setton. FDA 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.

Why is FDA Taking This Action?

Salmonella bacteria have been detected in pistachios processed by Setton. The company has stopped distribution of roasted pistachios in the United States and has recalled approximately one million pounds of its products. However, the recalled pistachios were widely distributed, and FDA expects that Setton pistachios and products containing them remain on the market and in the supply chain.  Further, the investigation at the company is ongoing and may lead to additional recalls.

What is FDA Doing to Investigate?

FDA and the California Department of Public Health are working together conducting an investigation to determine the extent of the contamination, how it occurred, and to identify recipients of the pistachios under recall, including companies that may have used pistachios from Setton as ingredients in their own products. The joint team has taken environmental and product samples from the firm's facility to analyze for the possible presence of Salmonella, and is reviewing records provided by the firm.

What are the Symptoms of Salmonella Infection?

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. Individuals who are experiencing these symptoms should contact a doctor immediately or go to an emergency room for evaluation.

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