Salmonella Causes FDA to Issue Pistachio Product Recall

March 31, 2009
By Gabriel Mejia, Esq. on March 31, 2009 1:53 PM | | Comments (0)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cautioning consumers in Florida and across the nation to avoid pistachios and any products that contain them.  The latest food product recall stems from Kraft Foods Inc.'s discovery that their Back to Nature Trail Mix was contaminated with Salmonella.  The source of the Salmonella was traced back to Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. in California.  The pistachio contamination is said to involve several strains of Salmonella according to the FDA.

Several illnesses related to the pistachio Salmonella contamination have been reported, but it is unclear if any of those cases occurred in Florida.  The FDA investigated whether the strains found in pistachio products were related to the recent outbreak of Salmonella in peanut products which caused one illness in Florida as of March 15, 2009, but have found no link thus far.

The Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and other related symptoms.  In people with weakened immune systems, such as the young, elderly, and infirm, Salmonella can at times lead to death.  In nuts, the roasting process is used to kill off the bacteria, but when this process is improperly performed the bacteria can survive in the finished product.

Companies are often held liable for the injuries caused by their products.  Companies have a duty to comply with the various food-safety guidelines applicable to their particular product and to take steps to ensure the safety of their products.  Most recently, these types of claims against food producers have stemmed from the peanut butter Salmonella outbreak which sparked numerous lawsuits against Peanut Corporation of America and other related companies after allegations of unsanitary conditions and code violations.  Thus far, no such allegations have been made against the producers of the pistachio products.

The FDA is advising that consumers avoid eating pistachio products until further information is available.  Because the pistachios were sold in bulk to other companies that packaged and produced other products with the nuts, the extent of exposure has not yet been determined.  Many companies, including Georgia Nut Company, Back to Nature Food Company, and Kroger, are already issuing recalls on some of their pistachio products.
  
Gabriel Mejia is a personal injury attorney handling accident and injury cases in Florida for Law Offices Cytryn and Velazquez, P.A.

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