Salmonella in pistachios: He Said, She Said

It’s on, bitches.

After a production manager for Setton Pistachio’s sister company in New York said yesterday Kraft Foods did not tell Setton until recently that they had detected salmonella-tainted pistachios last year, Kraft offered a timeline of Salmonella-positive events. Kraft spokeswoman Susan Davison said,

Workers at one of Kraft’s manufacturers in Illinois turned up a contaminated batch of fruits and nuts in December 2007. Then, in September of last year, another positive sample appeared.

Only after thousands of tests could the company pinpoint the source for the second positive test as California-based Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. … Kraft finally determined pistachios caused last year’s problem in March, when their manufacturer in Illinois detected salmonella for the third time – this time in the nuts, the only common ingredient between the second and third batch of trail mix. Kraft has not traced the source for the first positive salmonella test in 2007.

"If we did detect salmonella, of course we would never ship our products. We conducted extensive testing of all our food, and we were just unable to zero in until March that pistachios were the root cause."

Setton Pistachio then retracted the production manager’s statement.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration sent out a letter to the pistachio industry reminding nut processors to follow good manufacturing practices to protect consumers, something food safety experts called welcome guidance.

Oh, and before it was an Ashley Tisdale song, He Said She Said was a bad 1991 romantic comedy about competing newspaper advice columnists. They’d be blogging for free today.