- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 4, 2009

Salmonella detected in pistachios in 2008

FRESNO, Calif. | A company at the heart of a nationwide pistachio recall said Friday that Kraft Foods Inc. detected salmonella in its pistachios more than six months ago but didn’t report the finding until last week.

Lee Cohen, a New York plant production manager for Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc., said Kraft told them on March 24 that the tainted nuts were found in a mixed-snack blend.

Kraft spokeswoman Susan Davison said manufacturer Georgia Nut Co. first found the bacteria in its Kraft Back to Nature Nantucket Blend trail mix in September 2008, but it took more than six months of testing to determine what caused the contamination.

Ms. Davison said Kraft informed Setton four days after Georgia Nut determined that pistachios were the cause, and issued a recall.

Dr. David Acheson, FDA’s assistant commissioner for food safety, said that the administration also learned about the problems last week and that he believed Kraft destroyed or recalled the trail mix.

Explosives chemical found in formula

A chemical used in explosives, fireworks and rocket fuel has been found in powdered baby formula in the United States, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) said Friday.

In “little-noticed findings,” researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 15 brands of baby formula contained perchlorate, an oxidizer in solid fuels used in explosives, fireworks, road flares and rocket motors, the EWG said.

“Studies have established that the chemical is a potent thyroid toxin that may interfere with fetal and infant brain development,” it said.

The EWG said the CDC study’s findings raised “new concerns about perchlorate pollution, a legacy of Cold War rocket and missile tests.”

The CDC study, which was conducted in 2006 and published last month in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, said perchlorate could inhibit the absorption of iodine by the thyroid and lead to growth and developmental problems in infants.

Palin’s sister-in-law held in burglary

ANCHORAGE, Alaska | Police say Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s sister-in-law is accused of breaking into the same home twice to steal money.

Deputy Wasilla Police Chief Greg Wood says 35-year-old Diana Palin was arrested Thursday after she was confronted by the homeowner in the governor’s hometown of Wasilla. She faces two counts of felony burglary and misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass and theft.

Chief Wood says tire tracks and shoe prints tied Diana Palin to another break-in Tuesday in which $400 was taken. Police have not tied Diana Palin to another burglary at the home last week.

The governor’s spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton, says Diana Palin is the half sister of the governor’s husband and the family has no comment.

Singer’s bid to save possessions denied

LOS ANGELES | A judge Friday denied Michael Jackson’s attempt to rescue his Neverland Ranch possessions from an auction that will include memorabilia from the height of his 1980s popularity, but the pop star will get another hearing before the sale happens.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brett Klein ruled in favor of Julien’s Auction House, which plans to sell about 2,000 Jackson items April 22-25 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Mr. Jackson’s production company filed a lawsuit seeking the return of some items on March 4, the same day auctioneer Darren Julien arrived in Ireland to unveil the items on a tour.

Mr. Julien last year signed an agreement covering the sale with Dr. Tohme Tohme, who is with Mr. Jackson’s production company and serves as the singer’s spokesman. The auctioneer said that he still does not know exactly which items Mr. Jackson wants back.

Owner threatens to shut Boston Globe

BOSTON | The New York Times Co. has threatened to shut the Boston Globe unless the newspaper’s unions agree to $20 million in concessions, the Globe reported on Friday, quoting union leaders.

The union officials said executives from the Globe and the Times, which owns the Boston newspaper, made the demands Thursday morning in a meeting with leaders of the newspaper’s 13 unions, the Globe reported.

“Management told union leaders Thursday that the Globe will lose $85 million in 2009 unless serious cutbacks are made, according to a Globe employee briefed on the discussions,” the Globe report said. That compares with an estimated $50 million loss last year, the newspaper quoted the employee as saying.

Boy, 10, leads cops on high-speed chase

AURORA, Ind. | Police say a 10-year-old Indiana boy led officers on a high-speed chase before crashing his parents’ minivan.

Aurora Police say the boy was treated for minor injuries at a hospital after the Thursday morning three-mile chase and then taken to a juvenile detention center in Lawrenceburg.

The van hit several vehicles before police set out “stop sticks” to try to stop it. The boy swerved around the spikes but struck a utility pole and then stopped.

Police Chief Dana Cotton says the boy could face felony charges of auto theft and evading police.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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