Thursday, April 02, 2009

More on Pistachios

Marion Nestle points out something interesting surrounding the pistachio recall which now involves 2 million pounds of nuts and involves 74 products so far. Just how was the Salmonella contamination discovered? It was first reported that Kraft foods found contamination in some of their trail mix and I was giving them credit for following HACCP protocols even though they are not required by the FDA for foods like trail mix. Only for sprouts, fresh juices, seafood, and eggs on the FDA side and for meat and poultry on the USDA side. Evidently, according to USA Today, a small nut company in Illinois, Georgia’s Nut, routinely tests for Salmonella and found the bacteria in nuts purchased from Setton Pistachio of California. Georgia’s Nut recalled products distributed in the Chicago area. This company also produces a trail mix for Kraft Foods. It notified Kraft Foods, which also promptly recalled its products.

It is evidently Georgia's Nut and not Kraft that follows a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) protocol. HACCP is a science-based food safety procedure that requires analyzing where contamination might occur in production processes (hazard analysis), taking steps to prevent contamination at those critical control points, and using pathogen testing to make sure the steps were followed and the plan is working.

Kraft and other like food processors are only required to follow Good Manufacturing Processes, which are considerably less rigorous (Hello the peanut butter recalls ). Kudos go to Georgia's Nut for going beyond the requirements and catching this thing before people got sick.

Marion has long advocated HACCP requirements for all foods which seems like a better and better idea.

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