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Salmonella-Contaminated Pistachios Still Not Off the Market: Company Repackaged Recalled Nuts

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The FDA warned consumers last week to avoid two brands of pistachios that are related to the salmonella-related recall, but may have been repackaged and set to airports and hotels.

Orca Distribution West Inc. repackaged the two brands of pistachios, California Prime Produce and Orange County Orchards. Orca is the distributor for Setton Pistachio, who “voluntarily” recalled all of its pistachios back in late March because of potential salmonella contamination. However, Setton never publicly announced the recall, which spurred the FDA to conduct a follow-up audit of the company. During the investigation of Setton, the FDA discovered that Orca was repackaging the recalled nuts.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in children, elderly people, or the ill. More than 660 products were linked to the pistachio recall. This salmonella recall represents one of the many high-profile outbreaks since 2006—including contaminated lettuce, pepper, spinach, peanut butter, and peanuts. The FDA has come under increasing scrutiny for its lack of oversight in U.S. food safety, but continues to argue that it did all it could given its limited staff to conduct annual inspections. In fact, the FDA states that it only has enough staff to conduct annual inspections of 7,000 of the 150,000 U.S. food processing plants and warehouses.