Pistachios recalled after salmonella detected

Dr. David Acheson
Dr. David Acheson
Richard Matoian
Richard Matoian
Sarah Klein
Sarah Klein

By Tracie Potts

WASHINGTON, DC (NBC) - There's another sweeping food recall, this time its pistachios.

A California processing company says one million pounds of its nuts may be tainted with salmonella.

Setton Pistachio has voluntarily recalled a million pounds of nuts.

And they're not shipping anything from their central California plant until the FDA figures out how some of its pistachios tested positive for potentially deadly salmonella.

The company ships to three dozen distributors in 30 states.

"Today, we are making contact with those facilities to find out, did they receive product and what did they do with it" said Dr. David Acheson of the FDA.

Today the FDA's going through the company's safety and hygiene records.

They're retesting samples and warning consumers don't eat anything with pistachios until FDA tracks down the source.

Grocery stores are acting quickly, pulling the potentially contaminated nuts from store shelves.

It could cost processors millions but they're backing the FDA's warning even though only one-third of one percent of their 278 million pounds of pistachios are affected.

"Until such time as the FDA gets a handle on all the products, all the brand names, all the places tainted pistachios may have gone, this type of recall we believe is necessary," said Richard Matoian of the Western Pistachio Association.

Kraft Foods first detected the tainted nuts in random testing.

The FDA and the industry say that proves the system works.

Consumer advocates argue they just got lucky.

"We can't be relying on the honor system of companies testing when they feel like it and testing if they happen to do so to find these kinds of contaminants," said Sarah Klein of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

But the FDA doesn't mandate salmonella testing.

They rely primarily on industries to do the right thing.