Peanuts and Pistachios - Are They Safe Now?

Over the past several months, we have issued guidance for peanuts, peanut butter, peanut paste and other peanut products along with similar warnings about pistachios in regard to Salmonella concerns, both in humans and/or in these nuts. We have been asked, "Is it totally safe to go back to these products as if these incidents did not happen?" The answer is a qualified "yes". However, as we have advised our clients individually when asked, since we are still observing firms who are recalling products due to the fact that they "just learned" that these nuts either were sourced or might have been sourced from recalled product. Our advice is as follows:

We strongly recommend that for any product containing peanut and/or pistachio in any form that you secure from your vendor a certification that the ultimate source was not The Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) for peanuts or Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. for pistachios. This serves two-fold. Firstly, it shows your vendor that you take food safety extraordinarily seriously and are requiring them, in writing, to know who they are purchasing from. Secondly, when these incidents happen again, more processors will be able to quickly perform what has become a required function of trace back and trace forward one degree.

Hopefully with this increased awareness, we can truly have a seamless farm-to-fork food safety system that, if and when problems are detected by state Departments of Health or Agriculture, the FDA or the USDA, that these products can be withdrawn in an expeditious manner to make sure that these adulterated products do not cause harm to the ultimate consumer.