McCain company officials ignored signs of Salmonella, Listeria contamination


This article by Phyllis Entis first appeared in Food Safety News and is reposted here with permission

For more than 2 1/2 years, management at the Colton, California facility of McCain Foods USA ignored positive test results for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella, apparently choosing to ship the potentially contaminated vegetable and fruit products without conducting confirmation tests.

This pattern of behavior was discovered during an internal audit at the manufacturing location, according to information in the FDA’s Weekly Enforcement Report released yesterday.

“During an internal audit at the manufacturing location, it was discovered that finished product had been released on numerous occasions after receiving presumptive positive test results for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella; confirmation was not conducted,” according to the FDA report.

Testing for pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella involves multiple stages. The “presumptive positive” first stage indicates the possibility that a food sample may contain the pathogen. A second, confirming stage to identify the microbe is standard laboratory operating procedure. 

McCain’s Colton manufacturing facility was most recently inspected by the Food and Drug Administration in January, according to information in the agency’s on-line inspection database. That inspection resulted in a classification of “Voluntary Action Indicated,” suggesting that FDA investigators recorded one or more “Inspectional Observations” requiring correction. Food Safety News has requested, but has not yet received, a copy of the Establishment Inspection Report.

On Oct. 13 McCain recalled all products it shipped on or after Jan. 1, 2016, from its Colton, CA, facility. The recalled products were distributed in the United States, Canada, China, Korea and Mexico. The recalls were classified as Class II under FDA’s three-class system. Products that might cause a temporary health problem, or pose only a slight threat of a serious nature are considered to be Class II.

McCain Foods is a privately owned, multinational company with its main offices in Ontario, Canada. It has many business customers, including other food companies, retailers, restaurants and institutional foodservice operations such as school districts. Recalls by retailers that used McCain ingredients in their branded products include WalMart, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and 7-Eleven.

To date, no confirmed illnesses have been reported in connection with the recalled products. However, it can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms of Listeria infection to develop.

McCain’s voluntary recall included the following 63 different products, packaged and sold under multiple brand names, which are indicated in parentheses.

  • Fire Roasted 1/2″ Diced Red Peppers; Sold in 2 lb. and 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted 1/4″ Diced Red Jalapenos; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Sautéed 3/8″ Diced Onions; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Corn and Black Bean Blend: Sold in 2 lb. and 25 lb. packages (Jon-Lin, NatureSmart and Chef Sensations)
  • Caramelized Onion Strips: Sold in 2 lb. and 25 lb. packages  (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Julienne Strips: Sold in 2 lb. and 25 lb. packages (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire-Roasted Thin Sliced Portobello Mushrooms: Sold in 2 lb. packages (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Caramelized 3/8″ Diced Onions: Sold in 25 lb. packages (Jon-Lin)
  • Roasted Vegetable Blend: Sold in 2 lb. packages (GFGB)
  • Fire Roasted Half Moon Green Zucchini : Sold in 25 lb. and 1,200 lb. packaging (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire Roasted Super Sweet Corn: Sold in 20 lb. (Chef Sensations)
  • Fire Roasted Red Pepper Strips: Sold in 20 lb. (Jon-Lin)
  • Smokehouse Roasted 5/8″ Diced Apples: Sold in 25 lb. (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted 1/2″ Diced Onions: Sold in 25 lb. (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire Roasted 1/2″ Diced Green Peppers: Sold in 25 lb. (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire Roasted 1/2″ Diced Yellow Peppers: Sold in 25 lb. (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Onion/Pepper Strip Blend: Sold in 20 lb. (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire Roasted 1/4″ Diced Red Peppers: Sold in 25 lb. (Jon-Lin)
  • Sautéed 1/4” Diced Onions: Sold in 25 lb. (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Rubio’s Vegetable Blend: Sold in 2 lb. (Chef Sensations)
  • Fire-Roasted Onion Strips: Sold in 20 lb. (Jon-Lin)
  • Sautéed Mushrooms: Sold in 500g (no brand name)
  • Fire-Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions Sold in 14 oz. package. (Trader Joe’s and unbranded)
  • Sautéed Organic Onion Strips: Sold in 25 lb containers (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Jalapeno Poblano Onion Blend; Sold in 2 lb. and 25 lb. containers. (Jon-Lin)
  • Dark Caramelized 3/8″ Diced Sweet Onions; Sold in 20 lb. containers. (Jon-Lin)
  • Caramelized 1/4″ Diced Onions; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Homestyle Julienne Tri-Colored Pepper Strips; Sold in 20 lb. containers. (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire Roasted 1/2″ Diced Poblano Chiles: Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted 1/2″ Diced Onions: Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Sautéed 3/8” Diced Organic Onions: Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire Roasted 1/2″ Diced Green Zucchini ; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Cauliflower Florets ; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire Roasted 1/2″ Diced Tomatoes; Sold in 25 lb. containers. (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire Roasted 1/2″ Diced Onion/Pepper Blend; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Sautéed Julienne Onion Strips With Canola Caramel; Sold in 20 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Pizza Kitchen Cut Medley; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire-Roasted Pepper and Onion Blend; Sold in 300 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted 3/8″ Diced Organic Onions; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire Roasted 1/4″ Diced Poblanos; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire-Roasted Poblano Strips; Sold in 20 lb. containers. (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire Roasted Red Onion Sticks; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Caramelized Mushroom Slices; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Rubio’s Elote Corn Blend; Sold in 2 lb. containers (Chef Sensations)
  • Fire-Roasted Pineapple Tidbits; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted 1/2″ Diced Tomatillos; Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Rubio’s Fresno Chili ; Sold in 2 lb. containers (Chef Sensation)
  • Fire Roasted Green Pepper Strips ; Sold in 2 lb. containers (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire-Roasted Green Jalapeno Slices; Sold in 20 lb. containers (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire Roasted Yellow Pepper Strips; Sold in 20 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Corn & Black Bean Blend; Sold in 2 lb. containers (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire-Roasted Red Onion & Pepper Blend: Sold in 2 lb. containers (Hot Stuff Foods)
  • Fire Roasted 1/2″ Diced Button Mushrooms: Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Sautéed Green Pepper Strips: Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Home-Style Red Pepper Strips: Sold in 20 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Home-Style Green Pepper Strips: Sold in 20 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Home-Style Yellow Pepper Strips: Sold in 20 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted 1/4″ Diced Jalapenos: Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin and NatureSmart)
  • Fire Roasted 1/2″ Diced Eggplant: Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Red Jalapeno Slices: Sold in 2 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Red Jalapeno Slices: Sold in 2 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted 1/2″ Diced Red Onions: Sold in 25 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)
  • Fire-Roasted Organic Super Sweet Corn: Sold in 1,500 lb. containers (Jon-Lin)

For more information on the recalls, see McCain’s contaminated vegetables trigger massive food recalls – Updated 10/23/18

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