How Does a Pistachio Get Salmonella?

Posted on April 2, 2009 by Allie

The other day, in comments, Sunshine asked, “Anyway, how does a pistachio get salmonella?”

Good question.  I decided to look up the answer.

While I believe this article from Rutgers is specifically talking about last year’s produce outbreaks, the same may apply when it comes to pistachios.

“Possible sources of contamination in the field or packinghouse could include use of contaminated irrigation or wash water (from a bacterially contaminated well or pond), use of improperly composted manure in the field, or handling of the produce by sick field or packinghouse workers. Scientific research has shown that when produce is contaminated, washing with water or treatment with sanitizers may not remove all the contamination.”

Roasting, however, should kill salmonella.  According to the AP, the pistachio contamination may have occurred when raw pistachios were accidentally mixed in with roasted ones.

The good news is that there’s a new food safety bill in the works, and hopefully, this will limit these kinds of food contimation occurances in the future.  And, despite hysterical e-mails stating otherwise, the new food bill does not mean the government will prevent you from growing your own tomatoes.

No Comments +

  1. The real way to reduce food contamination is to go local and grow your own. Government regulation will never mitigate this problem. As long as we continue to have huge agri-business and global food manufacuring we’ll continue to have food safety issues.

    April 2nd, 2009 at 4:58 pm
    Comment by Chiot's Run
  2. The new food bill will not regulate backyard gardens, but it could be a major concern for small farmers, who may not be able to afford to abide by the regulations. It reminds me of the consumer product safety act that was all the buzz a few months ago, which would have made it less likely that Mattel would sell toys contaminated with lead but much more difficult for small toymakers to stay in business. I never actually heard how that turned out, but those situations make me wonder if increased regulation is the way to go. I like small farmers and small toymakers, and I don’t want to see them disappear in the name of “public safety.” But I don’t really know the answer…

    April 2nd, 2009 at 5:01 pm
    Comment by Erin aka Conscious Shopper
  3. Thanks for the ‘splainin. My child asked this very same question!

    April 2nd, 2009 at 6:44 pm
    Comment by JessTrev
  4. I haven’t had a pistachio in a while, but I sure do like them. A fine nut indeed.

    And by the way, Mt. Hagen instant coffee is as good as you said. I will be carrying it down the Green River in Utah next week and many trips beyond. Thanks!

    April 2nd, 2009 at 7:54 pm
    Comment by mickey
  5. I’m curious to see exactly what the new FSA would actually do. I’d be even more curious if Congress would finally quit letting itself be blackballed by Big Beef and Agriculture and let the FDA do its job–because the FDA probably has regulations to prevent such outbreaks. But they’re being hampered by Big Beef and Agriculture. For instance: recalls are voluntary, and usually don’t happen until months after the fact, even if the contamination is known. This loophole is not the FDA’s doing, not directly. The beef industry is so big that many states simply cannot risk it carrying out a threat to move (thus losing valuable tax income)–meaning that every time the FDA tries to do something, the industries get in the way.

    And we fall for it every time. We say “The FDA should do this-and-this” but we keep buying the products made by the very companies that prevent such regulations from being implemented.

    April 2nd, 2009 at 8:53 pm
    Comment by Jules
  6. [...] How Does a Pistachio Get Salmonella? The other day, in comments, Sunshine asked, “Anyway, how does a pistachio get salmonella?” Good question. I decided to look up the answer. [...]

    April 3rd, 2009 at 1:01 pm
    Pingback by Quick Green Reads For The Weekend Volume 111. | The Good Human
  7. I was wondering this myself about the nuts. I agree with Chiot’s Run, likely the best/only way to be totally safe is to grow your own food. Unfortunately its not feasible for most of us.

    April 4th, 2009 at 4:29 pm
    Comment by Vanessa
  8. okayy.i love pistachios and i was just wondering i looked it up.about pistachios been fected with samonella.do you think that its just a certain kind?

    May 2nd, 2009 at 12:00 am
    Comment by Chastity

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If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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