Recalls and Alerts: March 26, 2013

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

Canada

  • Allergy Alert: Uncle T Food Ltd. recalls G7 brand instant coffees due to undeclared milk.
  • Food Safety Recall: Pensée Santé (St-Éphrem, QC) recalls croquants à la caroube (crunchy carob), because the product was manufactured using YUM brand peanut butter that has been recalled due to potential contamination with Salmonella or another harmful bacterium.

Europe

  • Allergy Alert (Denmark): Santa Maria Denmark recalls Santa Maria Nacho Chips due to undeclared milk.
  • Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Crowing A/S recalls Organic Minced Chicken, frozen (Produced by Hanegal A/S), due to pieces of plastic in one of the packages.
  • Food Safety Recall (Denmark): KD Food ApS recalls Skagen Salad due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.
  • Horse Meat Recall (Greece): The Department of Rural Economy and Veterinary (southern sector) has ordered the recall of several products after undeclared horse meat (DNA) was detected in samples.
  • Medical Device Safety Recall (UK and Ireland): LifeScan UK/Ireland recalls several OneTouch blood glucose meters, due to inaccurate display of extremely elevated blood glucose level readings.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

  • Allergy Alert (Hong Kong): Kofco Enterprise (Asia) Co. Ltd. recalls Mixed Soybean Paste, Sesame & Garlic (Manufactured by Daesang Corporation, Korea), due to undeclared peanuts.
  • Food Safety Recall (Hong Kong): Nestle recalls Kit Kat Chunky Collection Giant Egg, as the chocolate waffle inside the egg may contain small pieces of plastic.
  • Dietary Supplement Safety Alert (Hong Kong): The Department of Health urges the public not to buy or consume a slimming product named “Conting Qianweisu Slimming Herbs Capsule” as it may contain undeclared and banned drug ingredients that are dangerous to health.

Australia and New Zealand

  • Allergy Alert: Pams recalls Pams Fruit Nut Bars due to undeclared milk chocolate.

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 website.

*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 Suspends Sunland’s Food Facility Registration

The agency’s action, taken under authority conferred on FDA by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), follows on the heels of a determination that “…food manufactured, processed, packed, received, or held by [the] facility has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, and that [the] facility created, caused, or was otherwise responsible for such reasonable probability.”

Peanut butter manufactured in Sunland, Inc.’s Portales, New Mexico facility was responsible for at least 41 cases of Salmonella Bredeney infections in 20 US states, according to CDC’s most recent update, published on November 8th. Ten of the 41 outbreak victims were hospitalized.

In announcing this first ever use of FDA’s suspension powers under FSMA, the agency released the following statement:

In the interest of protecting public health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suspended the food facility registration of Sunland Inc., a producer of nuts, and nut and seed spreads.  Registration with the FDA is required for any facility that manufactures, processes, packs, or holds food for consumption in the United States.  If a facility’s registration is suspended, that facility is prohibited from introducing food into interstate or intrastate commerce.

The fact that peanut butter made by the company has been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney that has sickened 41 people in 20 states, coupled with Sunland’s history of violations led FDA to make the decision to suspend the company’s registration.  

This was the FDA’s first use of its registration suspension authority, under the Food Safety Modernization Act. This new authority enables the agency to take this action when food manufactured, processed, packed, received, or held by a facility has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, and other conditions are met.

A review of Sunland Inc.’s product testing records showed that 11 product lots of nut butter showed the presence of Salmonella between June 2009 and September 2012.  Between March 2010 and September 2012, at least a portion of 8 product lots of nut butter that Sunland Inc.’s own testing program identified as containing Salmonella was distributed by the company to consumers.    

Additionally, during its inspection of the plant in September and October 2012, the FDA found the presence of Salmonella in 28 environmental samples (from surfaces in production or manufacturing areas) and in 13 nut butter product samples and one product sample of raw peanuts.  Four of the peanut butter product samples showed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney.   

The suspension order offers Sunland, Inc. the opportunity to request an informal hearing on certain issues related to the order.  If, after providing this opportunity, the FDA determines that the suspension remains necessary, the FDA will require Sunland, Inc. to submit a corrective action plan to address the immediate problems and to implement a sustainable solution to those problems in a sound scientific manner.  The FDA will reinstate Sunland, Inc.’s registration only when FDA determines that the company has implemented procedures to produce safe products.

In its letter of notification to Sunland’s President, FDA referred to a number of conditions and company actions that formed the basis for its decision, including:

  • Investigation by CDC and FDA of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney led to a determination that Trader Joe’s™ brand Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with Sea Salt was the likely source of the outbreak;
  • Sunland was the sold manufacturer of the implicated peanut butter;
  • Evidence collected by FDA in response to the outbreak, including the company’s own testing records, environmental and finished product samples analyzed by FDA and observations made during FDA’s inspection of the facility established that nut butter and nut products manufactured, processed, packed and held by Sunland are contaminated with Salmonella or are at risk of contamination with Salmonella;
  • Sunland’s own testing records revealed that third party testing identified the presence of Salmonella spp. in at least 40 finished products from 11 finished product lots and eight sets of environmental samples between June 2009 and September 2012; and
  • Sunland distributed at least a portion of eight lots of peanut and almond butter between March 1, 2010 and September 2012 after composite testing revealed the presence of Salmonella.

The complete text of the letter can be found on FDA’s website.

Sunland’s quality assurance philosophy clearly was “keep testing until we get a Salmonella-negative result; then ship the product.” This is an approach that has been adopted all too frequently in the food industry. I have encountered it in Canada; I have encountered it in the US. It is ethically incorrect. It is scientifically incorrect.

In a word, it is WRONG.

Recalls and Alerts: November 21, 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.

For current information on retail distribution of peanut butter products recalled due to Salmonella Bredeney, please consult the Trader Joe’s/Sunland Peanut Butter Recalls tab.

For current information on retail distribution of beef products containing Canadian beef recalled due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination please consult the Canada/USA Beef Recall tab.

United States

  • Allergy Alert: Whole Foods Market recalls Cookies-by-the-Pound Wedding Cookies and Cookies-by-the-Pound Almondine Wedding Cookies, because they contain undeclared pecans and almonds, respectively. The recalled cookies were distributed in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee between October 22 and November 15 2012.
  • Allergy Alert: Sara Lee® recalls Sara Lee Butter Streusel Coffee Cake (Best by Oct 16, 2013; UPC 3210002342), due to the presence of undeclared pecans. The recalled product was distributed nationally.
  • Food Safety Recall: Boulder Ice Cream (Boulder, CO) recalls the following ice cream and gelato products that contain peanut ingredients supplied by Sunland Inc., due to potential contamination with Salmonella: Boulder Ice Cream Peanut Butter Cup (16 oz; Best by 08/16-13 or earlier; UPC 65388802142), Sorano Gelato Chocolate Peanut Butter (16 oz; Best by 08-10-13 or earlier; UPC 65388807004), Boulder Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Gelato (5 L Pan; Best by 10-03-12 or earlier; UPC 65388850103), Boulder Ice Cream – Peanut Butter Cup (2.5 Gal Tub; Best by 07-24-12 or earlier), Boulder Ice Cream – Elvis (2.5 Gal Tub; Best by 07-24-12 or earlier), and Yoki Bliss – Peanut Butter (4 x 1 Gal; Mfg Date 09-24-12 or earlier; UPC 65388806112).
  • Pet Food Safety Recall: Carolina Prime Pet Inc. recalls Priority Total Pet Care All Natural Bullstrips (5-ct pkg; UPC 0-21130-42080-3; Lot codes 200827 12 S 3195 and 20090312 S3195), after the Colorado Department of Agriculture finds Salmonella in the product. The recalled Bullstrips were sold in Safeway stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington DC and Wyoming as well as Vons, Pavilions and Pak ‘N Save stores in California; Randalls and Tom Thumb stores in Texas; Genuardi’s stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and Dominick’s stores in Illinois.
  • Outbreak Alert (Final Update): CDC reports that the multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes that sickened 22 persons in 13 states and the District of Colubmia appears to be over. Twenty people were hospitalized, and four of the outbreak victims died. Two of the deaths were related to the outbreak illness. The outbreak was traced to contaminated imported Frescolina Marte brand Ricotta Salata Cheese, which was manufactured by Chiarappa S.R.L. (Conversano, Italy).

Europe

  • Allergy Alert (Denmark): Tamaco Food A/S recalls imported Lactose-free Emmentaler (220g; Best before 12/12/2012, 20/12/2012 and 03/01/2013), because the product contains more than 0.01g of lactose per 100 grams of cheese.
  • Food Safety Alert (UK): The Food Standards Agency warns consumers not to eat peanut butter and peanut based products manufactured by Sunland, Inc. and imported from the USA, because of possible Salmonella contamination. Consumers should discard the affected products, which may have been purchased on the internet or from specialist shops that sell imported American food products.
  • Food Safety Recall (Finland): Nestlé Finland recalls Puffet IC Vanilla (110 ml; Best before 05.04.2014; Batch code 2286401812), because some pieces may contain metal fragments.

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.