The second-largest pistachio processor in the US has voluntarily recalled all of its pistachio products because of “concerns” about salmonella contamination, the New York Times reports.
From the sounds of the article, Setton Farms decided to make the recall after one of their wholesale customers, Kraft Foods, did some routine tests and came up with disturbing findings, at which point Kraft promptly narced and told the FDA (thankfully).
So far, there’s no talk about leaky industrial roofing dripping wet bird crap onto the processing line (as was what happened with those peanuts, EW). Right now the article just says:
Kraft Foods said its inspectors visited the California plant where the pistachios were processed, and found that the plant was not keeping its roasted pistachios separate from the incoming flow of raw nuts. Like other nuts, raw pistachios can carry pathogens that are killed in the roasting process.
Pathogens = organic matter that may contain salmonella? ie dirt, crap, roaches, mold, roach crap?? I have no idea – anyone care to enlighten us? [UPDATE: Reader Eric has commented on a little more of the pistachio cleaning process. Who knew that the rawness of nuts are treated with sensitivity, almost like meat?] What is also disappointing is that the article makes it sound like Kraft had to whistle blow this issue before the supplier did.
By the way, Setton Farms does have a process map about how its pistachios make it from the farmers to a packaged product. What’s odd is the amount of times magnets are passed over the nuts to remove any metal objects. Um, when are metal objects potentially getting into the pistachios? Is it workers’ jewelry or shards? Yikes! [UPDATE: Reader Eric also points out that employees are not allowed to wear jewelry other than a wedding band and that the metal detectors are used to find trace slivers of metal; sounds like a preventative measure instead of sorting out things that fall in there unavoidably?]
As with other industrial food processing, the more I know about how something got to me, the less I want to eat the stuff.