Recalls and Alerts: July 23, 2012

Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

United States

  • Food Safety Recall/Outbreak Alert: Cargill Meat Solutions (Wyalusing, PA) recalls 29,339 pounds of Grnd Beef Fine 85/15 (3 x 14-lb chubs per case; Est 9400; Produced May 25, 2012), because the ground beef has been linked to a 33-case, seven-state outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections. The chubs were shipped to distribution centers in Connecticut, Maine and New York for further distribution and were repackaged into consumer-size packages for sale under different retail brand names. At least a portion of the recalled meat was consigned to Hannaford Supermarkets, and sold in their stores in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
  • Food Safety Recall: Hannaford Supermarkets recalls Ground Beef (Sell by dates of May 29 through June 16, 2012), because the meat may be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis. The ground beef is implicated in a 7-state outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses and has been recalled by Cargill Meat Solutions.
  • Outbreak Alert: Forty people who at a turkey dinner at the Denver Rescue Mission were taken to hospital after becoming “violently ill” an hour after their dinner, according to the Denver Post.
  • Outbreak Alert Update: Dayton & Montgomery County Public Health has now identified at least 75 individuals who became ill with E. coli O157:H7 (including 18 with lab-confirmed infections) after eating food at a picnic at Neff’s Lawn Care in Germantown, Ohio. Fourteen people have been hospitalized, including three in serious condition who are suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome. Two secondary cases (person-to-person transmission) have been reported. The source of the infections is still undetermined.

Europe

  • Food Safety Recall (Germany): Milupa GmbH recalls Pre Aptamil formula (800g; Expiry 01/11/2014; Production time between 02.14 and 05.00), due to contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii.
  • Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Danish Supermarket recalls E ‘Bindstouw Sausage (500g; Product of Poland; Package date 16.07.2012; Best before 17.08.2012), due to the presence of excessive numbers of bacteria.
  • Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Plant Riet ApS recalls Plantedrik Nr. 4 og Plantedrik nr. 5 fra Planteriet ApS (250ml plastic bottle; Best before 24th July 2012), due to mold growth in some bottles.
  • Outbreak Alert (Scotland): Fifty-seven people became ill with norovirus after taking part in an open water swimming event at Strathclyde Loch, according to Wishaw Press. Some of the victims tested positive for norovirus. The loch has been closed to water sports and boating as a result of the outbreak.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.1038): Chlorpyriphos in cauliflower from Poland; distributed to Lithuania.
  • Dietary Supplement Safety Notification (EU #2012.1041, 2012.1042, 2012.1043): Unauthorized 1,3 dimethylamylamine in food supplement from the USA; distributed to Ireland.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

  • Food Safety Enforcement Action (Abu Dhabi): Inspectors of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority ordered the destruction of 77 kilograms of food products found unfit for consumption in Al Ain during a comprehensive inspection campaign in Ain.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Food Safety Enforcement Action (Argentina): The National Health and Food Quality Service seized more than 50kg of pork that was being smuggled into Argentina from Paraguay at the Posadas-Encarnación International Bridge. The contraband was hidden under passenger seats. The federal agency is proceeding to denature and destroy the seized pork.

Some supermarket chains post recall notices on their web sites for the convenience of customers. To see whether a recalled food was carried by your favorite supermarket, follow the live link to the supermarket’s recall web site.

*The Kroger umbrella encompasses numerous supermarket, marketplace and convenience store chains, listed on the Kroger corporate home page.
**Includes Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs and Pak N’ Save.

Recalls and Alerts: February 13, 2012

Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

United States

  • Outbreak Alert: For the second time this year, Princess Cruises’ Crown Princess has been hit with an outbreak of what is probably (again) norovirus gastroenteritis. The ship reported what was confirmed as a norovirus outbreak on its January 28-February 4, 2012 cruise. CDC environmental health officers boarded the Crown Princess on its February 4th arrival in Ft. Lauderdale to evaluate the outbreak and the crew’s response activities. The ship was “turned around” that same day and embarked on its next scheduled cruise – one that has been cut short by two days due to a recurrence of gastroenteritis. The Crown Princess returned to port on February 9th for another CDC assessment and a super-sanitization cleaning and disinfection.” In all, 396 passengers and crew reported symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea during the January 28th – February 4th cruise; 356 passengers and crew experienced those symptoms during the abbreviated February 4-9 cruise.

Canada

  • Food Safety Recall: Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd. recalls Fresh Veal Cubes (Item #50088; Best Before Feb 19th, 2012), because the meat may contain pieces of metal. The recalled Fresh Veal Cubes were sold in certain Costco warehouse stores in Eastern Canada on February 9th or 10th.

Europe

  • Allergy Alert: Granovita UK Limited withdraws Granovita Mushroom Pateole Yeast Spread, labeled as gluten-free (Best before 21 April 2012), because the product contains levels of gluten that are above the limits allowed for foods labeled as gluten-free.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.0222): Salmonella spp. and Cronobacter sakazakii in dried milk formulae from Belgium; distributed to Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.0223): Salmonella spp. in chilled beef trimmings from Ireland; distributed to Sweden.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.0225): Monocrotophos, omethoate and dimethoate in okra from India; distributed to Austria.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.0228): Tetradifon in oranges from Turkey, via Germany; distributed to Austria.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.0230): Unauthorized operator for frozen chicken pasta from Italy; distributed to Italy and the United Kingdom.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.0231): Salmonella enteritidis in frozen whole hens from Poland; distributed to Denmark.
  • Allergy Alert Notification (EU #2012.0233): Undeclared gluten in mushroom yeast spread from Spain; distributed to the United Kingdom.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

  • Food Safety Alert (China): Chinese authorities are reported to be investigating eggs that bounce after being boiled and are too hard to eat (referred to as “rubber eggs” or “ping pong eggs”) out of concerns that the eggs may be fake. Xinhua news agency adds that the hardness might also be explained by the laying hens consuming large quantities of feed enriched with gossypol, a residue of cotton seeds added to chicken feed as an extra source of protein.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.0222): Salmonella spp. and Cronobacter sakazakii in dried milk formulae from Belgium; distributed to Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Some supermarket chains post recall notices on their web sites for the convenience of customers. To see whether a recalled food was carried by your favorite supermarket, follow the live link to the supermarket’s recall web site.

*The Kroger umbrella encompasses numerous supermarket, marketplace and convenience store chains, listed on the Kroger corporate home page.
**Includes Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs and Pak N’ Save.

FDA, CDC Clear Mead Johnson In Infant Illnesses, Deaths

There is currently no evidence that indicates the Cronobacter infections in these infants are related.”

– Joint Statement by FDA and CDC, December 30. 2011

Although an investigation into four cases of Cronobacter sakazakii infections – one each in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Florida – is ongoing, FDA reported yesterday that the Cronobacter sakazakii strain that killed a Missouri newborn and the strain that infected an Illinois baby are genetically different from each other. Bacterial cultures from the Florida and Oklahoma babies were not available for testing.

FDA labs also have NOT found Cronobacter sakazakii in any unopened containers of Mead Johnson Nutrition’s Enfamil powdered infant formula or nursery water (used to reconstitute the formula), confirming the company’s own lab findings. Following is a portion of the FDA/CDC Joint Statement:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health departments continue to investigate four recent cases of Cronobacter infection in infants in four states: Florida, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma. There is currently no evidence that indicates the Cronobacter infections in these infants are related.

Based on test results to date, there is no need for a recall of infant formula and parents may continue to use powdered infant formula, following the manufacturer’s directions on the printed label.

The ongoing investigation includes laboratory testing of various types and brands of powdered infant formula, nursery water and, when available, clinical samples from the infants. The investigation also includes the inspection of manufacturing facilities for infant formula and nursery water.

The following results have been confirmed from completed laboratory tests, although additional lab results are pending release:

  • CDC’s laboratory conducted DNA fingerprinting of the bacteria from two recent cases of Cronobacter infection in infants (Missouri and Illinois). The results show that the Cronobacter bacteria differ genetically, suggesting that they are not related. (Bacteria from cases in Oklahoma and Florida are not available for analysis.)
  • CDC laboratory tests of samples provided by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found Cronobacter bacteria in an opened container of infant formula, an opened bottle of nursery water and prepared infant formula. It is unclear how the contamination occurred.
  • The FDA tested factory sealed containers of powdered infant formula and nursery water with the same lot numbers as the opened containers collected from Missouri and no Cronobacter bacteria were found.

The FDA has inspected the facilities that manufactured the infant formula and the nursery water that tested positive for Cronobacter bacteria. Those manufacturers have programs that test their products before they are distributed. The lots in question were tested and found negative for Cronobacter. There is currently no evidence to conclude that the infant formula or nursery water was contaminated during manufacturing or shipping.

The FDA, CDC and state agencies continue to investigate the cause of the infections using epidemiological and laboratory methods. Currently CDC and FDA laboratories are testing infant formula, water and other environmental samples related to the ill infants from Illinois and Oklahoma; the results are pending. Additional steps include: completion of inspections of manufacturers, additional laboratory testing of samples, and additional DNA fingerprinting investigation.

Last week, following single reports of Cronobacter illness in infants in Missouri and Illinois, CDC asked public health officials around the country to look for other cases of Cronobacter infection among infants. This generated reports to CDC of two additional cases, one in Oklahoma and the fourth recent case in Florida. The illnesses in these infants occurred in late November and early December. The infants in Missouri and Florida, tragically, died as a result of their infection, while the infants in Illinois and Oklahoma have survived.

Cronobacter is a very rare cause of a severe infection in young infants, and usually occurs in the first days or weeks of life. Typically CDC is informed of about 4-6 cases of Cronobacter a year. With recent increased awareness, CDC has been informed of a total of 12 cases in 2011.

Cronobacter causes severe bacterial sepsis or meningitis in infants, which often starts with fever, and usually includes poor feeding, crying or listlessness. Cronobacter illness is diagnosed by a laboratory culture.

Any young infant with these symptoms should be in the care of a physician. There is no need to test a child that is not sick. If a Cronobacter infection is diagnosed by a laboratory culture, CDC encourages clinicians and laboratories to inform their local or state health departments.

Cronobacter bacteria is found in the environment and in hospitals and homes. It can also multiply in powdered infant formula after the powder is mixed with water.

Mead Johnson responded to the news with the following statement:

Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE: MJN) was notified today by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that health inspectors have completed their testing on all formula samples collected from the company. These tests confirmed that the Mead Johnson products were safe, and no presence of Cronobacter was detected. This is consistent with two rounds of testing conducted by Mead Johnson.

“We’re pleased with the FDA and CDC testing, which should reassure consumers, healthcare professionals and retailers everywhere about the safety and quality of our products. These tests also reinforce the rigor of our quality processes throughout our operations”

Mead Johnson has been informed that all samples collected from the company – and related to health investigations in Missouri and Illinois – have been found safe. Mead Johnson emphasizes these are the only incidents that led to tests on its products.

All Mead Johnson infant formulas, including Enfamil PREMIUM® Newborn, undergo approximately 2,300 quality checks and safety tests to ensure that they meet or exceed our own rigorous standards, and those set by the World Health Organization, the FDA and other regulatory bodies before they are made available to consumers.

“We’re pleased with the FDA and CDC testing, which should reassure consumers, healthcare professionals and retailers everywhere about the safety and quality of our products. These tests also reinforce the rigor of our quality processes throughout our operations,” said Tim Brown, senior vice president and general manager for North America. “We remain committed to our mission to nourish the world’s children for the best start in life.”

As a result of the FDA and CDC tests – as well as our own – Mead Johnson said parents can continue using Enfamil and other Mead Johnson products with confidence.

FDA investigations are continuing into the possible sources of the Cronobacter sakazakii strains that killed the Florida and Missouri babies and infected the infants in Illinois and Oklahoma. These include additional lab tests on infant formula from various manufacturers, nursery water samples and environmental samples. The agency also is carrying out inspections of the manufacturing facilities.

FDA and CDC offer the following recommendations for safe preparation and use of powdered infant formulas, especially for premature infants and infants under 6 weeks of age:

  • Formula preparation. In most cases, it’s safe to mix formula using ordinary cold tap water that’s brought to a boil and then boiled for one minute and cooled. According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest that mixing powdered formula with water at a temperature of at least 70 degree C—158 degrees F—creates a high probability that the formula will not contain Cronobacter sakazakii. Remember that formula made with hot water needs to be cooled quickly to body temperature—about 98 degrees F—if it is being fed to the baby immediately. Prepare only enough formula for one feeding at a time
  • Cleaning. Wash your hands and all feeding equipment thoroughly with soap and water before preparing the formula,
  • Bottles and nipples. Consider sterilizing bottles and nipples before first use.  After that, you can clean them in the dishwasher or wash them by hand with soapy water.
  • Bottled water. If you use non-sterile bottled water for formula preparation, you should follow the same directions as described for tap water above. Some companies sell bottled water that is marketed for infants and for use in mixing with infant formula. This bottled water is required to meet general FDA quality requirements for bottled water. If the bottled water is not sterile, the label must also indicate this. Water that is marketed by the manufacturer as sterile and for infants must meet FDA’s general requirements for commercial sterility.
  • “Use by” date. This is the date after which a package or container of infant formula should not be fed to infants. It indicates that the manufacturer guarantees the nutrient content and the general acceptability of the quality of the formula up to that date. FDA regulations require this date on each container of infant formula.
  • Storage. Manufacturers must include instructions on infant formula packaging for before and after the container is opened. They must also include information on the storage and disposal of prepared formula.
  • Homemade formula. FDA does not regulate or recommend recipes for these. Errors in selecting and combining ingredients for homemade formula can have serious consequences affecting the nutrition and overall well-being of the infant.
  • Formula changes. Always look for any changes in formula color, smell, or taste. If you buy formula by the case, make sure the lot numbers and “use by” dates on the containers and boxes match. Also, check containers for damage, and call the manufacturer’s toll-free number with any concerns or questions. You may also contact FDA.