Food safety center stage at pistachio conference

03/11/2010 07:59:25 PM
Dawn Withers

MONTEREY, Calif. — Though the pistachio recall of 2009 is over, the industry’s food safety challenges are not.

Dawn Withers

Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner for food safety, David Acheson, discusses last year's pistachio recall during Paramount Farms’ annual pistachio conference in Monterey on March 11.

The changing regulatory landscape, food safety requirements, and the renewed proactive attitude of federal regulators were laid out during Paramount Farms’ annual pistachio conference in Monterey on March 11.

Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner for food safety, David Acheson, who left the agency in August 2009 for a job at Salt Lake City-based Leavitt Partners, gave his thoughts on the recall’s effect, telling attendees they face a rapidly changing and increasingly complicated world in which to do business.

“This is a cultural issue,” Acheson said.

In March 2009, California processor Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc. recalled its 2008 crop due to salmonella contamination. FDA warned consumers against eating pistachios and said the processor of knowingly shipped contaminated pistachios.

Acheson said though FDA’s decisions in the recall were seen as overreaching by the industry, the agency later found problems, including the mixing of raw with processed product. No illnesses were linked to the recall.



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