Don't Go Federal Nuts Over Those Tainted Pistachios!

From the AP, a story about why we know what we know about those salmonella-ridden pistachios:

Routine but unrequired testing by a manufacturer for Kraft Foods Inc. first detected the contamination almost two weeks ago, when workers at a plant in Illinois decided to check roasted nuts going into huge vats of trail mix. Private auditors hired by Kraft later found problems they think caused the contamination at a supplier's processing facility in central California.

If Kraft had not chosen to prioritize testing, 2 million pounds of pistachios that touched off government warnings and a nationwide salmonella scare this week probably would still be on the market. Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor state laws require food manufacturers to test the safety of their products....

Private industry reported the pistachio problem immediately, rather than waiting for public health officials to intervene. And as of Wednesday, authorities had not confirmed any illnesses.

"You can call it a fluke, you can call it good luck, or you can call it good judgment on the part of Kraft," said Dr. David Acheson, FDA's assistant commissioner for food safety. "They're not required to tell us, they did and we're moving on it."

How about just calling it good judgment? Instead, get ready for new, top-down regs and more.

Whole story, via, here.

Hat tip: Margaret Griffis.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Yes, we don't need no lousy stinking inspections! Besides, anyone who eats trail mix with pistachios yet deserves to die.

  • max hats||

    I just hope the government doesn't require more food inspections. That would be a disaster.

  • Suki||

    How about just calling it good judgment? Instead, get ready for new, top-down regs and more.

    Oh yes. Added bonus: regulations to prevent companies from doing over and above testing than is reqired by regulation. Sorry, that one is old news from the mad cow issue.

  • Suki||

    Darn! This should say:

    How about just calling it good judgment? Instead, get ready for new, top-down regs and more.

    Oh yes. (as in I completly agree with you Nick)

    then the rest of the stuff.

  • Suki||

    If i can't get my own urls right I might as well stop for the night.

    Just now discovering it is April 1, so that explains the max hats comment.

    Nite all!

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Well now that Kraft has a sort of reputation for being on top of things compared to other companies, I could imagine some big competitor trying to make independent testing illegal rather than start testing their own products.

  • call me \"cynic\"||

    Wouldn't it be funny if it was a false positive, and there was never any real salmonella threat?

  • Kolohe||

    I could imagine some big competitor trying to make independent testing illegal rather

    I could swear something like this has already happened (and I think with the USDA) but I can't find it on the internet.

    And it wasn't quite the same thing as the bovine hormone / chicken hormone labelling issues, but it was along the same lines.

  • MNG||

    When the FDA approves your favorite anal lube why does it still taste like shit?
    Imagine how bad anal lube would taste if there were no regulations.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Reason had something about a small dairy company labeling their milk as antibiotic free or something like that. The big companies (basically socialist price-fixing pools) wouldn't have any of it.

  • Orange Line Special||

    I hope everyone had a good nap. Now it's time to rise and shine! Let's all read Mr. Gillespie's thoughts together!


    Now, Billy, do you notice what Mr. Gillespie forgot to mention?

    Yes, Mrs. Smith, I do! I saw on TV a story about a company in another state. They were a bad company! They knew about a problem but didn't say anything for a long time. Why, someone even claimed there was a special "crunchy extra" blended into the peanut butter! But, even if didn't contain that "special ingredient" it was clear that they weren't nice people.

    Very good Billy! Now, Susie, what does that tel us?

    Well, Mrs. Smith, it's obvious to everyone who isn't a complete hack that we need regulations like that to protect us against malefactors.

    Susie! You learned a new word! Very good!

    Thank you, Mrs. Smith. In fact, what we need is for the FDA to get better at this and stop letting crooks get away with what is in effect murder.

    Susie! Very good! Now, let's all show Mr. Gillespie the door.

  • Mad Max||

    Bless your heart, Lonewacko!

    I hate to sidetrack this thread and OLS's insightful comments, but take a look at this story (perhaps an excusable threadjack since homeschooling is one of Reason's beats):

    'Shock: Brazilian Homeschooling Parents Face Arrest Even after Early-Teen Sons Pass Law School Exams

    'Family appeals case to Brazilian Supreme Court

    'MINAS GERAIS, BRAZIL, April 1, 2009 ( - A Brazilian family fighting criminal and civil charges for homeschooling their children have appealed their case to the nation's Supreme Court of Justice.

    'Cleber and Bernadeth Nunes, who have homeschooled their children since 2006, were initially prosecuted in 2008 for "intellectual abandonment" for failing to enroll their children in a school approved by the Brazilian government.

    'Despite the fact that their two oldest children, David and Jonatas, passed law school entrance exams at the ages of 13 and 14 respectively, local government officials were not impressed. They assessed a fine equivalent to roughly $1,800 USD and ordered the couple to return their children to school. They refused.

    'After initiating a criminal trial against the Nunes, the government ordered tests for David and Jonatas. The tests covered a vast array of subjects and even the teachers administering them acknowledged they could not pass them. However, the Nunes children both received passing grades.'

    According to an earlier report, one of the judges who ruled against the parents said: 'We cannot even allow the examination here of the quality of education that is being given at home, because homeschooling never can be substituted for regular instruction.'

  • Mad Max||

    And I suppose I should comment on the thread's topic, as well, just for form's sake.

    Let me see . . . how about this: You can have my nuts when you pry them from my cold dead hands.

  • Brett Stevens||

    Government is like a cancer; it just wants to grow.

    Kind of like the populist masses.

  • 8^0||

    Shock: Brazilian Homeschooling Parents Face Arrest

    That's a lot of arrests! Our jails are already overcrowded thanks the the drug war.

  • Tym||

    This company makes testing products.

  • Warty||

    Did Lonewacko make a post that didn't tell us to ask HardQuestions? I'm shocked. Shut the fuck up, Lonewacko.

  • robc||

    Brazil Nuts!!!

    To tie the two threads together.

  • KT||

    If only it always worked this way.

  • Some Guy||

    I'm eating some pistachios right now.

    Yeah, I'm a dare devil, just like Evel Knievel. Except without the motorcycle jumping and broken bones.

  • ||

    I just eat a Brazil nut (spit most of it out) that clearly smelled like it was contamninated (with stool). I only noticed it after I put it in my mouth but the smell was unmistakable so I immediately spit it out and washed my mouth out with alcohol based mouth wash. I bought the nuts at Ulta foods in Wheaton Illinois about two weeks ago.


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties