Category Archives: food recalls

Moldy Chobani yogurt more harmful than previously assumed

iStock_000026032451SmallLast September there was a nationwide recall of Chobani Greek yogurt due to what the company called a harmless problem with some fungus.

Ten months later, that recall has been linked to more than 400 illnesses and microbiologists say the fungus responsible for the outbreak isn’t as harmless as company officials indicated.

Experts with Duke University tested yogurt affected by the September 2013 recall taken from the refrigerator of a Texas couple who said they both became ill after eating it.

The scientists found that the sample contained Mucor circinelloides, the fungus detected at the Twin Falls, Idaho, plant where the yogurt was made. But additional testing revealed that it was a subspecies of the bug that is commonly associated with human infections.

“The potential risk would be higher than we might have thought,” said Soo Chan Lee, a senior research associate with the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. The study is published in the journal mBio.

That contradicts the position of experts cited by Chobani who said the mold is “not considered a disease-causing microorganism,” and might pose risk only to people with compromised immune systems.

But Dr. Alejandro Mazzotta, Chobani’s vice president of global quality, food safety and regulatory affairs, disputed the study findings.

“To our knowledge, there is no evidence, including the assertions presented in this publication, that the strain in the recalled products causes illness in consumers when ingested,” he said in a statement. Chobani officials say they’ve made significant investments in technology and personnel to improve food safety procedures.

At least 403 reports of illness tied to the recall were reported in the past year, Food and Drug Administration officials said Monday. Reports aren’t confirmed cases, the FDA noted.

Chobani has taken steps to eradicate the mold at the plant, FDA officials said.

FoodFacts.com wants everyone in our community to understand that, despite claims by any company, recalls are serious business. While Chobani is claiming that the mold that caused the recall of their yogurt really couldn’t harm anyone, other sources disagree pretty strongly. It’s important for us all to keep up with food recalls and to make sure we rid our refrigerators and pantries of items that appear on lists of recalled products. While it may not be something we think of often, it really should be. We can avoid unnecessary — and sometimes serious — illness by following recall news. And remember, this is a service you can access easily via the FoodFacts.com website right here: http://www.foodfacts.com/food-recalls/ Develop a valuable habit and check it out as often as you can!

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/moldy-chobani-yogurt-posed-health-threat-tests-find-n150116

Because mechanically separated chicken isn’t bad enough …

That pink slime in the photo here … that’s mechanically separated chicken. We know, we know … that’s not what you think of when you hear that term. It  sounds like the actual meat is being separated into pieces by a machine.

Here’s the actual definition:

Mechanically separated meat (MSM), mechanically recovered/reclaimed meat (MRM), or mechanically deboned meat (MDM) is a paste-like meat product produced by forcing beef,pork, turkey or chicken, under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue. The process entails pureeing or grinding the carcass left after the manual removal of meat from the bones and then forcing the slurry through a sieve under pressure. This puree included bone, bone marrow, skin, nerves, blood vessels in addition to the scraps of meat remaining on the bones. The resulting product is a blend of muscle (meat) and other tissues not generally considered meat.

While manufacturers claim that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with mechanically separated meat, it’s not exactly appetizing. FoodFacts.com is pretty positive that no one actually wants to consume ANYTHING that contains bone, marrow, skin, nerves and blood vessels. Since the “substance” made the news a few years back and consumers had a fairly unanimous “ewww” reaction, certain manufacturers have refrained from using it. But it’s certainly still out there in a variety of products. And some of those products are produced for institutional use.

Tyson Foods is recalling 33,840 pounds of mechanically separated chicken products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The products are being recalled after being connected to Salmonella illnesses at a Tennessee correctional facility where the chicken was served. Seven patients have been identified with Salmonella infection, including two who have required hospitalization.

The recalled products were only shipped “for institutional use” nationwide and are not available for consumers to purchase at retail outlets.

Maybe that should make us feel better??? Consider that foods meant for institutional use can make their way into some schools, universities, hospitals, churches, government facilities and military bases — in addition to the prison that has already been affected. As disturbing as mechanically separated chicken may be, mechanically separated chicken infected with salmonella is certainly more disturbing. Hopefully Tyson’s recall has this incident completely covered.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2014/01/tyson-recalls-mechanically-separated-chicken-in-salmonella-outbreak/#.UtiSnouzKph

Farmers weigh in on new food safety rules … express concerns about the regulatory process

Foodborne illnesses are always a concern in the U.S. food supply. E. coli and salmonella are among the outbreaks we’ve become fairly used to hearing about in the news. FoodFacts.com follows food recalls on our website to keep our community notified of issues with specific products that often include foodborne illnesses. In January of 2011 the firm major reform of food safety laws in seven decades was enacted. The Food Safety Modernization Act was passed with the purpose of making food safer and reducing foodborne illness. It’s been two years and the FDA has put forward a draft for the new rules which has been open for public comment.

According to the Farm Bureau, however, the new regulations may just be too broad to do this job the way it needs to be done. Farmers have very specific concerns with the new regulations and believe that the FDA seems to be unwilling to focus specifically on the commodities that are most often associated with foodborne illness.

“We urge the FDA to reconsider standards that take into account the relative risks and comparative benefits associated with individual commodities. The FDA should initially propose regulations for only those commodities with a history of microbial contamination,” the Farm Bureau wrote in lengthy comments recently submitted to the FDA.

Only once those regulations are successfully put in place and enforced, should the FDA even consider expanding regulations to cover other commodities.

“We know that there have been problems with E. coli in leafy greens or with salmonella in tomatoes, for example, and the industry has voluntarily taken the initiative to curb some of those problems,” said Kelli Ludlum, American Farm Bureau Federation food safety specialist. “That’s where it really makes sense for FDA to focus their efforts. Unfortunately, they’ve chosen to go significantly broader than that and regulate a whole scope of commodities that have never had foodborne illnesses, and, because of the way they’re grown and consumed, are very unlikely to have those issues.”

Including low- and no-contamination risk commodities is a waste of both growers’ and the governments’ time and money.

“Instead of shrinking the size of the haystack in which they’re looking for that public health threat needle, by choosing to regulate all produce, they’re only making that haystack bigger, which neither farmers nor government inspectors and regulators have the resources for,” Ludlum said.

Specifically, because considerable changes to the draft rules are expected to be made as a result of public comments, the Farm Bureau believes a second draft of the proposed rule should be put out in order to work through the regulatory process adequately. Congressional lawmakers agree and are also calling for another round of comments. 30 senators and 45 House members said they were concerned about the impact of proposed rules on farmers and businesses that an additional comment period could help alleviate.

“We encourage the FDA to release a second draft of the combined produce safety, preventive controls for human food and animal feed, foreign supplier verification program and third-party audit certification rules to allow for sufficient review as to how all the rules are intended to work together,” Farm Bureau wrote.

Farmers are clearly concerned by the possibility of over-regulation that may not be necessary to ensure the safety of the food supply. While new regulation has clearly been needed and food safety is of the utmost importance to all Americans, the Farm Bureau’s concerns certainly pose a significant question regarding the FDA’s overarching approach to the issue. Time and money are important resources for both the government and America’s farmers. We’d be happy to see a second round of public comments to help the FDA arrive at a sensible set of much needed food safety rules that work for the government, the growers and consumers.

http://fbnews.fb.org/Templates/Article.aspx?id=38139

The FDA can’t seem to meet its schedule for modifying U.S. Food Safety Regulations

FoodFacts.com has some interesting news to report tonight coming out of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Back in January of 2011 a new law was signed requiring the F.D.A. to modernize food safety regulations. The F.D.A. has stated that the scope of the project is tremendous and will require additional time to complete. A lawsuit has been filed against them because of their failure to meet the deadlines given and now the Agency is fighting to have that lawsuit dismissed.

Here at FoodFact.com, we do feel that the U.S. can be behind other nations in our determinations regarding certain ingredients and their overall safety for the population. There are many food additives that have been banned in other countries that are still permitted in the U.S. food supply. There are many other ingredients that haven’t been studied to the degree required to deem them safe and yet the F.D.A. has allowed their use. So we can’t claim to be completely surprised by this latest news.

The lawsuit was actually filed back in August by the Center for Food Safety and the Center for Environmental Health. The Food Safety Modernization Act, which was passed into law at the beginning of 2011 was designed to help prevent food-borne illnesses that result in thousands of deaths each year. The two non-profit groups are accusing the F.D.A. of repeatedly missing hundreds of mandatory deadlines for issuing the regulations required by this law. They have asked the court to order the Agency to comply.

The F.D.A.’s efforts to have the lawsuit dismissed include a statement that their decisions regarding the law’s enforcement aren’t subject to judicial review. We don’t necessarily understand that as it seems to infer that the F.D.A. can’t be taken to court. They’ve also stated that they haven’t “unreasonably delayed” the dissemination of regulations. While the Agency isn’t arguing the fact that they have missed deadlines, they are trying to say that the deadlines aren’t really that important.

Sadly there are thousands of Americans who would have a different opinion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3,000 people die from food-borne illnesses each year and another 48 million (fully one in six citizens) get sick from food contamination.

The Food Safety Modernization Act is the first overhaul of food safety laws in over 70 years in the U.S. The new regulations are designed to establish standards for the sources of contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables. It would also hold importers responsible for the safety of their own products. Food companies would also be required to identify possible causes of contamination and take action to prevent them. While FoodFacts.com does realize that this is a tremendous undertaking, we also understand that it’s a very necessary step for the United States to take to protect our own consumers from a variety of dangers related to foods. We’ll keep an eye on this developing story and keep you updated. In the meanwhile, remember you can always check out FoodFacts.com to find out about the latest food recalls and their reasons.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/03/usa-food-lawsuit-idUSL1E8MUCSC20121203

Wire in bread sticks? Listeria in cantaloupe? Food Recalls!

Foodfacts.com brings you the latest food recalls and safety information from the Food and Drug Administration. Check back for updates on what you’re REALLY eating!

Pepperidge Farm Sesame Sticks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Norwalk, Conn., September 22, 2011 – Pepperidge Farm, Incorporated is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity of 10.2-ounce boxes of Baked Naturals Sesame Sticks as a precaution due to the possible presence of small, thin pieces of wire.

The affected product is marked with a yellow 20% More! banner across the top of the package and has the following codes on the top package flap:

W07*1781 Sell by 11/20/2011
W07*1891 Sell by 11/27/2011
W07*1921 Sell by 12/4/2011
W07*2041 Sell by 12/11/2011
W07*2061 Sell by 12/13/2011
W07*2221 Sell by 1/1/2012

No other Pepperidge Farm products are affected.

A small number of consumers have reported minor scrapes in and around the mouth. Pepperidge Farm issued the voluntmy recall out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety of consumers.

Approximately 13,000 cases of the affected products were shipped to customers across the United States. The product is not distributed in Canada.

Consumers who have purchased this product should not eat it. They should check their pantry shelves for boxes with “Sell By” dates of 11/20/2011 through 1/1/2012 marked on the top package flaps and return them to the store of purchase for an exchange or full refund. Consumers also can contact Pepperidge Farm Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time at (866) 535-3774.

The product was manufactured in the company’s Willard, Ohio facility.

ucm273144

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 23, 2011 – Carol’s Cuts LLC, Kansas food processor, is recalling 594 pounds of fresh cut cantaloupe packaged in 5-pound trays as chunks and as an ingredient in 8-ounce mixed fruit medley because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriage and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Carol’s Cuts Fruit Medley, packaged in 8-ounce individual serving clamshell containers (6 packages per case) and 5-pound bulk trays of cantaloupe chunks were distributed to institutional food customers, including restaurants, in Overland Park, Kansas, Kansas City and Maryland Heights, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska. Institutional customers may have used the cantaloupe on salad bars and as fruit menu items. Some institutional customers may have placed the 8-ounce servings in retail venues. Carol’s Cuts has notified all institutional customers of the recall and asked that the contaminated cantaloupe be returned or destroyed.

The Carol’s Cuts Fruit Medley product was shipped to customers on August 26 and September 12, 2011 and can be identified by oval label stickers stating Fruit Medley and having Best if Used By dates of September 3, 2011 and September 19, 2011 respectively. The 5-pound bulk trays of cantaloupe chunks were shipped to customers on August 26 and August 29, 2011 and are identified with tray stickers showing a Lot # 72361 and a Best if Used By date of September 3, 2011; and shipped September 12, 2011 and are identified with tray stickers showing a Lot # 72700 and a Best if Used By date of September 19, 2011.

The Carol’s Cuts recall is part of a larger recall involving cantaloupe traced to Rocky Ford cantaloupes produced by Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo. The Food and Drug Administration confirmed that listeria was found in samples taken from a Denver-area store and the Jensen Farms packing facility. The melons were shipped to at least 17 different states across the U.S. between July 29 and Sept. 10. As of Thursday there were eight deaths and 55 illnesses related to the contaminated cantaloupe.

Jensen Farms earlier issued a voluntary nationwide recall of its cantaloupes after news of the multi-state outbreak. Jenson Farms has ceased production and distribution of the product while FDA and the company continue their investigations as to what caused the problem.

Consumers who may have the recalled Carol’s Cuts product in their possession should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund or destroy it.

Carol’s Cuts LLC is located at 1247 Argentine Boulevard, Kansas City, KS 66105. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (913) 281-5200, Monday thru Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.

(Food and Drug Administration)

Food Recalls 9/19

queso fresco
Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

Del Bueno de Grandview, WA is recalling 16 oz. packages of queso fresco cheese due to possible listeria monocytogenes contamination. Dates marked on the label show September 14 2011. Make sure to dispose of this product and carefully clean the area in which it was kept.

ucm272271

Food Recalls!

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BUI Natural Tofu of Portland, OR, has recalled its shrimp salad and vegetarian salad rolls because they contain undeclared soy and wheat.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to soy and wheat run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume such products.

The recall was initiated after the Oregon Department of Agriculture found that soy and wheat ingredients weren’t listed on the product labels. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the salad rolls.

The salad rolls containing undeclared allergens are:

– Shrimp Salad Roll with the UPC number 8 95467 00203 8.

– Vegetarian Salad Roll with the UPC number 8 95467 00204 5.

These salad rolls were distributed to retail stores in the Portland metropolitan area and sold under the “BUI Fresh from the Bean” brand.

The products are packaged in a tray with a clear plastic wrapper, and are coded with a white sticker identifying expiration dates from 9/2 through 9/13. The products are refrigerated and have a shelf life of about three days.

Consumers may return them the recalled salad rolls to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 503-803-3059 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time.

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Watkins Inc. of Winona, MN, is recalling 1,535 units of its individual 7.7 ounce containers of SoyNilla protein powder, because of an undeclared milk ingredient. SoyNilla was distributed nationwide through the Watkins network of independent contractors, associates and mail orders.

The recall was initiated after a routine review revealed that the product contained milk but that ingredient was not listed on the label, indicating a temporary breakdown of the company’s allergen identification process.

No illnesses have been reported.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk may run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions in consuming it. Symptoms may include hives, wheezing, vomiting, anaphylaxis and digestive problems, such as bloating, gas or diarrhea.

The vanilla-flavored protein powder comes in a 7.7 ounce, white plastic package marked with lot #3000280 on the side of the package.

Consumers who purchased the 7.7 ounce of SoyNilla may call for a return or credit instructions. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-243-9423 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., CT, Monday through Friday.

(FoodSafetyNews.com)