Environmental samples taken in July by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors at two different locations within the nSpired Natural Foods Inc. nut butter manufacturing facility in Ashland, OR, tested positive for Salmonella, according to agency inspection reports. The samples were taken at a bakery “during the manufacturing of dried pasteurized almonds lot 5461,” the report stated. They were gathered on July 16, 2014, from the floor beneath a cooling tower, east side, northern floor surface, and the floor beneath a cooling tower, west side, southern floor surface, according to the FDA report. There were several other safety problems noted at the plant during visits by five FDA inspectors on 17 different days between July 15 and Aug. 29, 2014. These included inadequate cleaning and sanitizing (food residue observed on the discharge hopper after it had supposedly been cleaned), inadequate employee hand-washing between operations, food-contact surfaces not designed for how they’re being used (cracked buckets in direct contact with roast nuts), poorly bonded or welded seams on equipment (rough welds on shovels used for transferring roasted almonds from the discharge hopper to the cooling tower), potentially inadequate sanitizing procedures for equipment and utensils, cracks and gouges in the facility’s floors which make them difficult to keep clean, and lack of backflow protection from piping systems that discharge waste water. “This document lists observations made by the FDA representative(s) during the inspection of your facility. They are inspectional observations, and do not represent a final Agency determination regarding your compliance,” the inspection reports notes, adding that any questions or concerns from the company should be discussed with FDA officials at the agency’s office in Bothell, WA. Several brands of organic and conventional peanut and almond butters manufactured by nSpired, a division of Hain Celestial Group Inc. of Lake Success, NY, were voluntarily recalled during a Salmonella Braenderup outbreak linked to the products which sickened four people in four states (Connecticut, Iowa, Tennessee and Texas). One person was hospitalized, but no deaths were reported. The recalled products included Arrowhead Mills peanut butter, MaraNatha almond and peanut butters, Whole Foods almond butter, and Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Kroger brands of almond butter. An Aug. 21 update on the outbreak from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that since nut butters typically have a long shelf life, the recalled brands could still be in people’s homes. CDC recommends that people not consume the recalled nut butters but discard any remaining product.