It’s not over ‘til it’s over. This time, the Salmonella organism is striking pistachios instead of peanuts. But consumers shouldn’t compare the two. This newfound possible contamination of pistachios and pistachio products is not connected with the recent recalls of peanuts and peanut butter products. 

Late last month, Kraft announced a voluntary recall in the United States of its Back to Nature Nantucket Blend trail mix, which contained pistachio nuts with the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. These products were distributed to retail stores nationwide.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Kraft had identified the source of the contamination to be pistachios from Terra Bella, Calif.-based Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc.

Additionally, the Georgia Nut Co. voluntarily recalled some of its bulk wholesale and retail products containing shelled pistachio nuts with the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

As of March 25, 2009, both Kraft and Georgia Nut Co. said they have not received any reports of Salmonellosis linked to their recalled products, but they are issuing the recalls as a precaution.

Resulting from these findings, the FDA and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are investigating Salmonella contamination in pistachio products sold by Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc. The contamination involves multiple strains of Salmonella and may be the cause of several illnesses reported by consumers, the FDA says.

On March 30, 2009, the FDA said it is unknown whether any of the Salmonella strains found in pistachio products are linked to an outbreak, but it is “conducting genetic testing of the samples to pursue all links.”

 The FDA will provide a searchable database at www.fda.gov to inform the public of tainted products.

In the meantime, Setton Pistachio has voluntarily recalled certain bulk roasted in-shell and roasted shelled pistachios shipped on or after Sept. 1, 2008, which were distributed nationwide. It has also recalled its retail brand Setton Farms roasted salted shelled pistachios, which was distributed in S.C., Ga., Fla., N.C., Va., Tenn. and Ky.

Because pistachios are used as ingredients in many different products, it is likely that the recall will affect confectionery companies, says Alison Bodor, v.p., regulatory affairs, National Confectioners Association (NCA). She also states that the cause for contamination may be that shared equipment was used for both raw and roasted pistachios, which she learned from a phone call with Dr. David Acheson, FDA associate commissioner for foods.

The FDA urges consumers not to eat foods containing pistachios until the products affected by the recall are known. The NCA has also offered some advice to confectioners that use pistachios: Companies should investigate the source of their pistachios; post information on their web sites if their products are not affected by the recall; contact Setton Pistachio if they find their pistachios are roasted at Setton Pistachio; and if they must issue a recall, contact their local district FDA office.

About a million pounds of shelled and in-shell roasted pistachios will be impacted by the recall, Bodor says.

Kraft: (866) 538-8280
Georgia Nut Co.: (800) 914-4110
Setton Pistachio: (888) 228-3717
FDA: (888) INFO-FDA

Pearson Candy turns 100

This May, Pearson Candy Co. will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Originally founded by P. Edward Pearson and his four brothers as a candy distribution firm, the company shortly thereafter began manufacturing its own candy.

It debuted the Nut Goodie bar in 1913 for 5¢ in 1912, eventually launching its famous Salted Nut Roll in 1933, at that time dubbed the “Choo Choo Bar.” With the acquisition of Trudeau Candy in 1951, it added other Nut Roll items and Mint Patties to its stable of brands.

Larry Hasler, president and ceo, and Judith Johnston, executive v.p. and coo, acquired the company in a leveraged buyout in 1985. Candy Industry estimates sales for Pearson’s Candy Co. at $55 million.

Madelaine marks 60th anniversary with new name, logo

Madelaine Chocolate Novelties, Inc. now is doing business as The Madelaine Chocolate Company, in order to mark its 60th anniversary and reflect the company’s extensive product lines. In addition to the new name, the company also has launched a new logo to be displayed on product packaging and foils, along with marketing and communications documents. It’s also creating upscale packaging for its products.

SUPPLIER NEWS

Delkor Systems joins Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork program

Circle Pines, Minn.-based Delkor Systems, a manufacturer of automated end-of-line packaging systems, has qualified as a Machine Builder partner in the Rockwell Automation ParterNetwork program. This partnership will result in packaging machines with increased operational flexibility and lower cost of ownership.

“Through collaboration with automation experts in the network, we will be able to improve our packaging machines’ time to market and gain access to innovative technologies, ongoing technical support and updated information that will make our equipment even easier to install, operate and maintain,” said Dale Andersen, president and ceo, Delkor Systems.

“Also, by standardizing components across different machine models, we will be able to provide a higher level of customer support and better coordination with local suppliers of Rockwell Automation products.”

Delkor uses Allen-Bradley products from Rockwell Automation in its machines, including ControlLogix and CompactLogix control systems. For more information, visit www.delkorsystems.com or contact Ken Sullivan, director of marketing, at ksullivan@delkorsystems.com or (763) 746-1886.

Circle Packaging Machinery celebrates 50th

De Pere, Wis.-based Circle Packaging Machinery, Inc. will celebrate 50 years of manufacturing multi-lane, four-sided seal pouching and sachet machinery this year. Founded in New Jersey by Mario Natelli and Bob McCloskey in 1959, the company offers both horizontal and vertical form, fill, seal machines. It has been owned by John Dykema since 1998.

Danisco Sweeteners names new executive v.p.

On April 2, 2009, Stéphane Constant became the executive vice president of Danisco’s Sweeteners Division. Along with this appointment, Stéphane Constant became a member of the Danisco Food Ingredients Board, responsible for driving the division’s strategy.

Stéphane Constant brings more than 20 years of marketing and sales experience to the position. Previously, he worked at food chemicals and specialty ingredients groups Unilever, Quest International, Dupont-Solae, DSM, Rhodia and the Danisco Cultures Division.

Stéphane Constant now reports to Fabienne Saadane-Oaks, president of Danisco Bio Actives, and is based in Redhill, U.K.

“Stéphane is a recognized business developer and leader, with the experience of managing for growth and profit and a proven track record to turn around businesses facing very competitive market environments,” Saadane-Oaks says. “I’m convinced Stéphane has the exact capabilities needed to lead Danisco Sweeteners on its road to recovery into a new and successful page of its history.”

Kloeckner-Hansel gifts cooker to ZDS

Heiko Kuhn, managing director for Kloeckner-Hansel, seals the donation of a Jellystar cooker to ZDS, the Central College of the German Confectionery Industry, with Andreas Bertram, the school’s managing director, during the ProSweets show in Cologne.