Recalls and Alerts: March 1 – 4, 2019

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.

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United States

Allergy Alert: Asia Foods Distributor Inc recalls Nova Salted Biscuit food treats (14.08-oz pkgs; Expiry June 2020) due to undeclared milk.

Food Safety Recall: Washington Beef, LLC recalls approximately 30,260 pounds of ground beef chubs products due to foreign matter (metal and hard plastic) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were shipped nationwide.

Dietary Supplement Safety Recall: Sunstone Organics recalls Sunstone Organics White Vein Kratom (Lot 119) and Sunstone Organics Maeng Da Kratom (Lot 124A) due to potential Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for additional product details.


OUTBREAK ALERT: The Public Health Agency of Canada is investigating a new outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses linked to No Name Chicken Nuggets, Uncooked, Club Pack. The implicated product was recalled by Loblaws last month. Currently, there are 19 cases of illness in six provinces linked to this outbreak: Alberta (1), Ontario (11), Quebec (4), New Brunswick (1), Nova Scotia (1), and Prince Edward Island (1). Individuals became sick between December 2018 and February 2019. Two of the ill individuals have been hospitalized.

Food Safety Recall: Boucherie les 2 frères recalls RILLETTE DE CANARD (250g; all product sold up to and including March 1, 2019) due to temperature control issues (lack of refrigeration).


Allergy Alert (Denmark): Salling Group recalls Ready to EAT Tandoori chicken with chickpeas and coconut paste dressing (All dates) due to undeclared fish.

Allergy Alert (Iceland): Myllan recalls Vatnsdeigsbollur / Water dough balls andVatnsdeigsbollur litlar / mini Water dough balls (6 pieces; Lots #5690568022672 and 5690568022696; Best before 04.03.2019) due to undeclared milk. 

Allergy Alert (Italy): Molino Rossetto recalls SELEX FARINA DI GRANO TENERO TIPO 00 (1 kg; Lot #L 19 009; Best before 09-02-2020) due to undeclared soy.

Allergy Alert (UK): Morrisons recalls Morrisons brand Chinese Takeaway Chicken Curry & Sweet & Sour Chicken (1245g; Use by 4 March 2019, 5 March 2019 and 6 March 2019 only) and Morrisons brand Chinese Takeaway Chicken in Black Bean Sauce & Sweet & Sour Chicken (1245g; Use by 4 March 2019, 5 March 2019 and 6 March 2019 only) due to undeclared milk.

Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Megafood ApS recalls Chtoura Garden Ground sesame paste (800g; Lot L#270-O PT O-TF; Expiry 10/2021) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Hardy Affineur recalls Hardy Affineur brand Fromages fermiers de chèvre AOP au lait cru Valençay et Petit Valençay / Valençay and Petit Valençay AOP farm cheeses made from raw goat milk (All lots between 10-13 and 10-33; Best before March 1, 2019 to March 26, 2019) due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): E. Leclerc recalls Nos régions ont du talent brand Saucisse de Jambon aux pistaches / Ham sausage with pistachios (120g; Lot #9056; Best before 31/03/19) due to Listeria contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): E. Leclerc recalls Nos régions ont du talent brand Saucisse de Lyon Fine (120g; Lot #9056; Best before 31/03/19) due to Listeria contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France – Martinique): Carrefour Market and Promocash recall Antilles Mer brand Filet portion Pavé de thazard congelé / Frozen mackerel filet (800g; Lot #VN/388/II/106; Expiry 20/03/20) due to risk of ciguatera toxin.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Ruwisch & Zuck Die Käsespezialisten GmbH & Co. KG recalls Anselin Neufchatel AOP, French Soft cheese from raw milk (200g; Best before 28.02.2019) due to Shigatoxin-producing E. coli contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Ireland): Divilly’s Ltd recalls Less is Best Premium Turkey Breast (120g; Batch code 100212; ‘use-by’ date 28.02.2019) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Australia and New Zealand

Allergy Alert (New Zealand): The Lactation Station Ltd recalls The Lactation Station brand Coconut Rough Lactation Cookies (300g; All batches; All dates) due to undeclared milk.

Beach Beat: Can you see me now?

This opinion piece by Coral Beach first appeared in Food Safety News and is reposted here with permission

Once again science trumps government when it comes to open, easy and meaningful access to the information we need. A Listeria monocytogenes outbreak and related recall of pasteurized chocolate milk in Canada was ever so lightly reported by public health agencies back in 2016.

We covered the recall, expanded recall, and government warning in June 2016. The situation pretty much fell off radar screens after that.

This week, thanks to the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we’ve seen the rest of the story.

The outbreak, linked to Neilson brand chocolate milk sold by Montreal-based Saputo Inc., sickened at least 34 people, killing four. All but two of the victims were so sick they had to be hospitalized. All of the confirmed victims lived in Ontario. Most were elderly people, though their ages ranged from less than 1 to 90 years old.

People were sickened in two waves, but all are considered part of the single outbreak linked to Neilson brand partially skimmed chocolate milk. Illness onset dates for the first wave of victims were Nov. 14, 2015, through Feb. 14, 2016. The victims in the second wave became sick between April 11 and June 20, 2016.

There’s little doubt that more people were sickened by the milk sold by Saputo Inc. It can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria monocytogenes for the symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Do you remember what you ate and drank 7 days ago? How about 70 days ago? 

Epidemiologists know about the limitations of human memory when it comes to such details. But, being scientists, they almost never speculate about possible cases. They deal in facts, and the fact is only 34 people were diagnosed, underwent confirmation testing, and had their cases reported to public health officials.

Of the confirmed sick people, many bought the implicated milk at the same grocery stores. Lab tests showed the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes in the milk and in the facility where it was produced, according to the research report published in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.

“Environmental sampling at the manufacturer confirmed the presence of the outbreak strain within a post-pasteurization pump dedicated to chocolate milk and on nonfood contact surfaces. This post-process contamination of the chocolate milk line was believed to be the root cause of the outbreak,” according to the research report.

“A harborage site might have been introduced by a specific maintenance event or poor equipment design. The equipment was subsequently replaced, and corrective measures were implemented to prevent reoccurrence. Chocolate milk production was resumed after vigorous testing for L. monocytogenes under regulatory oversight.”

Forget Waldo, where’s the info?
Considering the striking information reported by researchers, I started crawling around on various websites of public health and food safety agencies in Canada. There was little to find. I contacted Public Health Ontario.

A “communications advisor” got back to me in a couple of hours. That’s impressive in terms of response time in these situations.

The response itself was much less impressive. It turns out there is “an internal final summary of the outbreak.” That’s gov’mint speak for “the public can’t see it.” 

The health department press officer provided a link to the research reported in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases in case I wanted additional details. Umm, that journal article is what sent me knocking on your email door.

I specifically asked why the release of the information was delayed.

Answer: “The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHTLC), the organization that informs the public during provincial outbreak investigations, released a joint statement from the Minister of Health and the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) about the outbreak on Jan. 20, 2016, and the CMOH issued a follow-up statement on June 12, 2016 after the cause of the outbreak was identified and the chocolate milk was recalled. Public Health Ontario also posted a notice on our website, which was regularly updated between January and October 2016. The final notice remains on our website. We suggest contacting the MOHTLC if you have more questions about this.” 

To save you a click, here what the “final notice” says:

“The provincial outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes which began in November 2015 was declared over on July 29, 2016. A total of 34 cases were linked to the outbreak with the majority being older adults. The cases were from 16 public health units in Ontario. The source of the outbreak was determined to be Neilson brand partly skimmed milk”

Call me a reporter, call me instinctively curious, call me anything you want, but shouldn’t a final report on any outbreak be more than 58 words? Shouldn’t  such a report include whether anyone died, and if there were deaths, how many? 

Shouldn’t such information be less difficult to find with the naked eye? Or, do we need to develop a device to reveal public safety information the way microscopes reveal bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes.  

It’s like all the best food safety nerds and activists say: If you don’t look for it, you won’t find it.

Note from the FoodBugLady: Here is a link to the report in Emerging Infectious Diseases

Frozen, raw chicken nuggets sicken 54 in Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are investigating a new Salmonella outbreak linked to raw chicken.

As of January 25, 2019, 54 Canadians from ten provinces and three territories have become infected with Salmonella Enteritidis after consuming a frozen, raw breaded chicken product. None of the outbreak victims have been hospitalized in this latest outbreak.

Since mid-2017, PHAC has received reports of 529 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella illness linked to raw chicken, including frozen, raw breaded chicken. To date, three people are dead, and 90 victims needed to be hospitalized. The deaths cannot be attributed directly to the Salmonella infection.

The outbreak investigations triggered recalls of eleven different brands and varieties of  frozen, raw breaded chicken products.

In response to findings by CFIA during its investigation of the most recent outbreak, Sofina Foods Inc. has recalled the following product:

Crisp & Delicious brand Chicken Breast Nuggets – Uncooked Seasoned Breaded Chicken Cutlettes, 1.6 kg packages:- Product code 2019 JL 19; UPC 0 69299 11703 5)

The recalled product is known to have been distributed to retailers in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, and may have been available nationwide, according to the recall notice.

Illnesses in the current outbreak have been confirmed in British Columbia (42), Alberta (81), Saskatchewan (18), Manitoba (25), Ontario (187), Quebec (111), New Brunswick (27), Nova Scotia (17), Prince Edward Island (5), Newfoundland and Labrador (12), Northwest Territories (1), Yukon (1), and Nunavut (2).

Symptoms of Salmonella infection may include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, chills, headache and low grade fever. The very young, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to severe symptoms, and secondary complications.

The public is advised not to consume the recalled product, and retailers and restaurants are advised to not sell or serve the recalled product.

PHAC recommends that consumers and food handlers observe the following precautions when preparing and handling frozen, raw breaded chicken products

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked frozen breaded chicken products. Cook all frozen raw breaded chicken products to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure that they are safe to eat. Use a digital food thermometer to verify the temperature. Insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the product, all the way to the middle. Oven-safe meat thermometers that are designed for testing whole chicken and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing nuggets, strips or burgers.
  • Microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded chicken products—including chicken nuggets, strips, burgers, popcorn chicken or chicken fries—is not recommended because of the possibility of uneven heating.
  • Always follow the cooking instructions on the package, including for products labelled Uncooked, Cook and Serve, Ready to Cook, and Oven Ready.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling frozen raw breaded chicken products.
  • Use a separate plate, cutting board and utensils when handling frozen raw breaded chicken products to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
  • Do not re-use plates, cutting boards or utensils that have come in contact with frozen raw breaded chicken products to serve the cooked product unless they have been thoroughly washed.