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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

FDA Found Numerous Violations at Setton Pistachio Plant Linked to Salmonella

In a 483 Inspection Report released today, FDA inspectors identified multiple food-safety shortcomings at the Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella California that was linked to a Salmonella outbreak earlier this year:

1. The company detected the bacteria in roasted pistachios in October but did not change its processing procedures until March

2. In one instance, the company re-roasted pistachios that had tested positive for Salmonella and blended them together with other nuts for sale.

3. Inspectors identified a "failure to manufacture, package and store foods under conditions and controls necessary to minimize the potential for growth of microorganisms and contamination."

4. Specific physical problems ranged from a rusty hole in the roof above one pistachio roaster to "thick layers of dust and debris" in a packaging room.

5. Procedural shortcomings included failure to monitor roasting temperatures and allowing raw and roasted pistachios to potentially come into contact.

6. Between October 2008 and March 2009, the report noted that "there were at least eight reported Salmonella-positive test results" coming out of the Terra Bella plant. When the firm learned of the private laboratory test results, inspectors said, there were no "procedures in place" to respond appropriately.

7. Prior to January, inspectors added, the Terra Bella plant did not monitor roasting temperatures, roasting times or the depth of pistachios placed on the roasting conveyor belts.

8. Inspectors checked records for 14 lots of roasted pistachios. In a potentially dangerous step, 10 of these lots had raw pistachios packed on the same packaging equipment prior to the roasted pistachios being run.

Does this not sound just a bit like the 483 Inspection report at the Peanut Corporation of America?  Setton is just lucky they did not sicken and kill people or they may too be facing bankruptcy and jail time.  When are companies going to get a clue?

  • Don’t believe everything you read

    Surely you are aware that the FDA leaves out relevant, pertinent information in their 483′s to make their case? I bet if your firm saw the actual data surrounding the individual observations you might be questioning the FDA’s tactics?
    Maybe they are trying to justify their blanket “don’t eat any pistachios” reaction in the face of a total dearth of epidemiological data.