Recalls and Alerts: January 17 – 20, 2021

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

Food Safety Recall: Pero Family Farms Food Company, LLC recalls Butternut Squash Trays due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Lancaster Foods LLC recalls Butternut squash noodles, planks, chunks and butternut squash containing medleys and blends due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Hiland Dairy recalls 1% low fat chocolate milk (1/2 pint (236 ml); Plant code 4025; Sell by January 27, 2021; UPC 72060-00156-3) because some of the products may contain food-grade sanitizers, which could cause illness if consumed.

Food Safety Recall: Publix Super Markets, Inc.  recalls select Publix Steam In Bag products prepared in-store containing a specific butternut squash ingredient due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Canada

Allergy Alert: Amy’s Kitchen Inc. recalls Amy’s brand Golden Lentil Dal Soup (398 ml; Lot 30F1520; Best before 06/2023; UPC 0 42272 90593 5) due to undeclared egg.

Allergy Alert: Live Organic Food Products recalls Live. brand Turmeric Wrap (112g; Batch codes 269TW272 and 269TW273; UPC 6 27916 55107 7) due to undeclared gluten.

Food Safety Recall: Charcuterie Richard recalls Mielonka (200 ml and 500 ml glass jars; Sold up to and including 19 January 2021) and Bigos (1 L glass jars; Sold up to and including 19 January 2021) due to lack of “Garder réfrigéré” on the product label.

Europe

Food Safety Alert (UK): Meat products (predominantly lamb, goat, veal, beef), of all meat species, supplied by an unregistered and unapproved Wiltshire based vendor have not been produced in accordance with food safety and hygiene legislative requirements. Please refer to the advisory for a complete list of affected products.

Allergy Alert (Belgium): Carrefour recalls Carrefour brand Carbonnades flamandes / Flemish carbonnades (600 g; Use by 24/01/21) due to undeclared wheat, barley, mustard and celery.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Wholefoods recalls Pit & Pit brand Graines du paradis / peppercorns (75g; Lot #LTR98NFYX; Expiration date 01/05/2023) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): EUROKIP recalls Kok O’Rell brand CHIPOLATA DE VOLAILLE / raw poultry sausage (0.250kg – 0.500kg; Lot #139950; Use by 21/01/2021) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Coronet Cake Company ApS recalls Vores Lagkagebunde, lyse, 3-delt / Our Layer Cake Bases, bright, 3-part (Best before 22.02.2021) due to risk of mold growth.

Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Dagrofa ApS recalls Gestus Lyse Lagkagebunde / layer cake bases (Best before 22.02.2021) due to risk of mold growth.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Huber Mühle GmbH recalls Bio Schoko Dinkelwaffeln / Organic Chocolate spelt wafers (150g; Expiry date 09.09.2021) due to foreign matter contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): Lovison spa recalls Salame a punta di coltello / “Knife-tip” salami (~600g; Lot #14102020; Best before 02.02.2021) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Netherlands): Lidl Nederland recalls gerookte spekreepjes / smoked bacon strips (Expiration dates 03-03-2021 and 04-03-2021) due to Salmonella contamination.

Pet Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Mars PetCare recalls Pedigree Vital Protection Adult med Kylling og Grøntsager / Pedigree Vital Protection Adult with Chicken and Vegetables dog food (3 kg and 12 kg; Batch codes 045F9MIN05 and 046C9MIN08, respectively; Best before 06.02.2022 and 10.02.2022, respectively) due to excessive levels of Vitamin D.

Pet Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): Mars recalls various Pedigree brand dry dog foods due to excessive levels of Vitamin D. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Australia and New Zealand

Allergy Alert (Australia): K S NSW Pty Ltd recalls Wang Korea Sweet Rice Pancake Original Flavour (180g; Date codes 2021.10.31, 2021.12.31, 2022.02.28, 2022.06.15, 2022.08.31, 2022.09.30) and Wang Korea Sweet Rice Pancake Green Tea Flavour (180g; Date codes 2021.10.31, 2021.12.31, 2022.08.31) due to undeclared egg.

Allergy Alert (Australia): Shin Mi Australia Pty Ltd recalls Wang Korea Sweet Rice Pancake Original Flavour (180g ; Date codes 31AUG22, 31JUL22, 28FEB22) and Wang Korea Sweet Rice Pancake Original (480g; Date codes 15JUN22, 15APR22, 31JUL21) due to undeclared egg.

Allergy Alert (New Zealand): NZ Bakels Limited recalls Bakels Gluten Free Bread Mix (700g; Batch #2011016; Best Before 01 DECEMBER 2021) due to undeclared gluten.

Food Safety Recall (Australia): O’Brien’s Wholesale Meats Pty Ltd recalls O’Brien’s Leg Ham (Various Weights and “use by” dates) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

‘Millions’ of roaches plagued maker of Pedigree, IAMS, Cesar, other pet foods

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

The Mars Petcare U.S. Inc. low-acid canned pet food production facility in Columbus, OH, was crawling with an infestation of German cockroaches between October 2016 and July 2017. Mars markets wet dog and cat foods in cans, plastic tubs, and laminated pouches under the Pedigree, Cesar, Whiskas, Nutro and IAMS brands.

Pet food from the plant also generated  consumer complaints about finding hard plastic pieces and a complaint about a elastic material in Mars’ pet foods.

On Oct. 7, 2016, Mars initiated a recall of 54,255 cases of CESAR Classics Filet Mignon Flavor canned dog food after the complaints about plastic. The recalled products were shipped to 36 states, including to three government facilities.

Ensuing inspections found the company had not completed repairs as promised.

Documents obtained by Food Safety News show that, during a July 2017 inspection of the Columbus facility, investigators from the Food and Drug Administration observed two significant deviations from current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP):

  • Failure to inspect, segregate, or otherwise handle raw materials and ingredients used in manufacturing under conditions that will protect the animal food against contamination and minimize deterioration; and
  • Failure to take effective measures to exclude pests from [the] plant and protect against contamination of animal food by pests.

Roaches and other pests
The infestation was first documented during an Oct. 27, 2016, comprehensive low-acid canned food (LACF) inspection by FDA, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Although Mars management undertook to address and remedy the infestation in October 2016, FDA investigators observed a live roach in the manufacturing area adjacent to an area where in-process raw materials and ingredients are maintained, and another near the main hand-wash station at the entrance to the manufacturing area during the July 2017 inspection.

According to the company’s Employee Pest Sighting Log, there were 99 instances of pest activity observed during a 72-day period from Nov. 10, 2016, to July 14, 2017, including one instance described as “millions of roaches.”

Employees also reported birds, spider webs, beetles, multiple flies, maggots and larvae on several occasions. 

Mars contracts with a pest control operator (PCO) for routine rodent and insect control.

During their review of the PCO’s reports, FDA investigators found references to photographic evidence of pest activity, disrepair of dock doors, general disrepair of the building — including areas of ingress and egress — excessive spills of raw materials and damaged cans “covered” in flies. The photographs had not been retained by the company.

Several of the PCO observations regarding necessary repairs were repeated in multiple consecutive reports. For example, damage to a dock door was first reported on or about Sept. 26, 2016. The report was repeated after each visit until the door was finally repaired on or about Nov. 3, 2016.

Foreign objects – pieces of plastic
In addition to ongoing pest problems, Mars logged repeated violations related to the pieces of hard plastic that spurred the Oct. 7, 2016, recall.

During a March 31, 2017, recall follow-up inspection, Mars informed FDA that the firm had fully implemented corrective actions/preventative actions (CAPAs), including changing all food-contact white plastic material to a blue plastic material, enabling the presence of white plastic foreign objects to be detected more easily.

Despite this assurance, FDA inspectors were told on July 11, 2017, that only the “majority” of the belts and plastic wear plates on critical equipment had been changed out by that date.

As of the July 2017 inspection, Mars acknowledged that it was still receiving complaints from customers about foreign objects in its finished products.

FDA has received two new consumer complaints for plastic foreign objects in Mars canned, tubbed or pouched products since the inspection, according to an agency spokesperson. One of these was for an elastic-type object and the other was for two small, hard plastic pieces. The consumer did not provide a product lot number in the second case, and it is unclear whether the two complaints concerned product manufactured in the Columbus facility.

Refusals and obstruction
The Establishment Inspection Report (EIR) documents a lack of cooperation on the part of Mars management during the July 2017 inspection.

FDA investigators reported Mars officials refusing to cooperate on three points three during the course of the inspection, including:

  • Refusal to permit photography
  • Refusal to permit the review of consumer complaints
  • Refusal to provide photocopies of consumer complaints, manufacturing, shipping and pest control records.

In addition to the outright refusals reported in the EIR, investigators encountered delays in the production of requested documents and information, and denial of complete access to all areas of the facility. 

When faced with a refusal, FDA investigators are expected to call attention to the relevant section of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act or the Public Health Service Act, and then to complete the inspection, according to Chapter 5 of the FDA Investigations Operations Manual (2018).

The company’s lack of cooperation resulted in a delay in the completion of the inspection, which was begun on July 11, 2017, but was not completed for more than two weeks, on July 26.

According to an FDA spokesperson, the Office of Regulatory Affairs issued an Untitled Letter to Mars subsequent to the July 2017 inspection. An Untitled Letter is used “…for violations that may not meet the threshold of regulatory significance for a warning letter and request correction of the violations.”

The investigation triggered by the recall is now closed. 

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