AP reports that Federal officials confirm they have found traces of salmonella in a central California pistachio processing plant that sparked a nationwide recall of the nut. The Food and Drug Administration said Monday state and federal inspectors found the bacteria in "critical areas" at Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella. FDA officials also say they found areas at the facility where raw and roasted nuts could become cross-contaminated with salmonella. The plant temporarily shut down after recalling more than 2 million pounds of nuts last week. The company has now expanded its recall to include all raw and roasted pistachios from its 2008 crop.
Salmonella is a bacterium that causes one of the most common enteric (intestinal) infections in the United States – Salmonellosis. In some states (e.g. Georgia, Maryland), salmonellosis is the most commonly reported cause of enteric disease, and overall it is the second most common bacterial foodborne illness reported (usually slightly less frequent than Campylobacter infection).
The reported incidence of Salmonella illnesses is about 14 cases per each 100,000 persons (MMWR Weekly, 2006), amounting to approximately 30,000 confirmed cases of salmonellosis yearly in the U.S. (CDC, 2005, October 13). In 2005, just over 36,000 cases were reported from public health laboratories across the nation, representing a 12 percent decrease compared with the previous decade, but a 1.5 percent increase over 2004 (CDC, 2007).