Recalls and Alerts: March 28–31, 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

Allergy Alert: Harris Teeter recalls certain Fresh Foods Market Cookies & Crème Cakes due to undeclared hazelnut. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Allergy Alert: Rise Baking Company recalls certain cookies and cakes due to undeclared hazelnut. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Allergy Alert: b.a. Sweetie Candy Co recalls certain Chocolate Malt Balls and Chocolate Malted Milk Balls due to undeclared wheat. Please refer to the recall notice for a detailed list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Sabra Dipping Company, LLC recalls Classic Hummus (10 oz; Production date/Time stamp “On: Feb 10 Between: 18:00:27 and 23:49:00”; Best before 4/26/21) due to Salmonella contamination. The recalled product was distributed in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Food Safety Recall: Trident Seafoods Corporation recalls Pacific Salmon Burgers (3 lb / 48 oz. net weight; Lot #GC101431; Best by 01/14/2023) due to possible foreign matter (small pieces of metal) contamination, which may represent a choking hazard. The recalled product was sold at Costco.

Food Safety Recall Update: Avanza Pasta, LLC. recalls approximately 9,847 pounds of meat and poultry pasta products that were produced without the benefit of federal inspection. Please refer to the recall notice for a detailed list of affected products.

Pet Food Safety Recall: Midwestern Pet Foods recalls multiple specific expiration dates of certain dog and cat food brands including CanineX, Earthborn Holistic, Venture, Unrefined, Sportmix Wholesomes, Pro Pac, Pro Pac Ultimates, Sportstrail, Sportmix and Meridian brands produced at its Monmouth, Illinois Production Facility due to potential Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were distributed across the USA and also exported to Bahrain, Barbados, Chile, Costa Rica, Ghana, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay.

Pet Food Safety Recall: Cargill, Inc recalls Ranch Hound Maintenance Mini-Chunk Dog Food (40-lb bags; Lots E1066 and E1067; Best by 3/7/2022 and 3/8/2022; manufactured for Atwood Distributing, L.P., Enid, OK) due to Salmonella contamination.

Canada

Food Safety Recall Update: Earth Notions Inc. recalls Earth Notions brand Raw Bitter Apricot Kernels (454g; Lot #AK2007; Best before June 2023; UPC 6 89076 42028 0) due to potential for cyanide poisoning.

Food Safety Recall Update: North Shore Specialty Foods recalls Kolapore Springs brand and North Shore brand smoked trout products due to potential for growth of Clostridium botulinum. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: IGA Extra – Coop de Sainte-Foy recalls various smoked salmon products due to lack of a “best before” date on the packages. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Charcuterie Transilvania recalls two delicatessen meats due to potential Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for complete details on the affected products.

Europe

Allergy Alert (France): Auchan recalls POUCE – Auchan brand Barres de céréales / cereal bars (126g (6x21g); Lot #A229356; Use by 10/12/2021) due to undeclared peanuts.

Allergy Alert (UK): Little Dish recalls Little Dish British Chicken & Veg Pie (200g; Use by 18 April 2021) due to undeclared fish.

Food Safety Recall (France): Auchan recalls Auchan – Mmm! brand Jamón Serrano 6 tranches / Serrano ham – 6 slices (100g; Use by 12/05/2021) due to foreign matter (pieces of metal) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): K. Iraklidis & Söhne AG recalls multiple Snacktomaten / Snack tomatoes products due to foreign matter (glass particles) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall Update (Ireland): Nestle UK and Ireland recalls multiple batches of SMA Wysoy Infant Formula due to foreign matter (pieces of blue plastic) contamination, which may represent a choking hazard. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected batch codes.

Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): Auchan recalls Auchan – Mmm! brand Jamón Serrano 6 tranches / Serrano ham – 6 slices (100g; Lot #502028224 16:29:13; Use by 12/05/2021) due to foreign matter (pieces of metal) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Slovak Republic): EQUUS. sro recalls multiple batches of frozen spinach purée due to potential tropane alkaloid poisoning. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall Update (UK): Nestle UK recalls multiple batches of SMA Wysoy Infant Formula due to foreign matter (pieces of blue plastic) contamination, which may represent a choking hazard. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected batch codes.

Salmonella in multiple Midwestern Pet Foods products

Midwestern Pet Foods is recalling a long list of dog and cat foods due to potential Salmonella contamination, according to a notice posted late yesterday on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website.

The recall, according to Midwestern, was initiated as a result of “a routine sampling program by the company which revealed that the finished products may contain the bacteria.”

The recall notice lists more than 140 individual items, with expiration dates spanning a nearly six-month period from April 26, 2022 to September 19, 2022.

Products included in the recall

  • Earthborn Holistic Adult Vantage
  • Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch
  • Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast
  • Earthborn Holistic Large Breed
  • Earthborn Holistic Meadow Feast
  • Earthborn Holistic Ocean Fusion
  • Earthborn Holistic Primitive Feline
  • Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural
  • Earthborn Holistic Small Breed
  • Earthborn Holistic Weight Control
  • Earthborn Holistic Western Feast
  • Earthborn Holistic Wild Sea Catch
  • Meridian Daybreak
  • Meridian Riverbend
  • Meridian Twilight
  • Pro Pac Adult Chunk
  • Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk
  • Pro Pac Mature Adult
  • Pro Pac Performance Puppy
  • Pro Pac Ultimates Bayside Select
  • Pro Pac Ultimates Chicken & Rice
  • Pro Pac Ultimates Heartland Choice
  • Pro Pac Ultimates Lamb & Rice
  • Pro Pac Ultimates Large Breed Adult
  • Pro Pac Ultimates Large Breed Puppy
  • Pro Pac Ultimates Meadow Prime
  • Pro Pac Ultimates Overland Red
  • Pro Pac Ultimates Puppy
  • Pro Pac Ultimates Savannah Pride
  • Sportmix 24/20 Energy Plus
  • Sportmix Bite Size
  • Sportmix Canine X Chicken
  • Sportmix Gourmet Cat
  • Sportmix Hi Protein 27/12
  • Sportmix High Energy 26/18
  • Sportmix Maintenance 21/12
  • Sportmix Original Cat
  • Sportmix Stamina 24/18
  • Sportmix Wholeomes Large Breed
  • Sportmix Wholesome Performance Puppy
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Beef & Rice
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Cat
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken & Rice
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Fish & Rice
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Grain Free Beef Meal & Chickpeas
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Grain Free Chicken Meal & Potato
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Grain Free Whitefish Meal & Potato
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Lamb & Rice
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Large Breed
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Performance Puppy
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Sensitive Lamb
  • Sportmix Wholesomes Sensitive Salmon
  • Sportstrail
  • Unrefined Lamb
  • Unrefined Rabbit
  • Unrefined Salmon
  • Venture Alaska Pollock Meal & Pumpkin
  • Venture Duck Meal & Pumpkin
  • Wholesomes Chicken &Rice
  • Wholesomes Fish & Rice

Please refer to the recall notice for a list of specific Lot codes/Expiration dates. Lot codes can be found on the back of the package, in the format “EXP AUG/02/22/M1/L#” in which the letter “M” indicates the Monmouth, Illinois, production facility.

The products were distributed to retailers nationwide and also were sold on-line.

There have been no reports of human or animal illnesses associated with the recalled products.

A backward glance

According to the FDA’s Inspection Classification database, this production facility was inspected on four separate occasions during 2008–2010. On each occasion, FDA inspectors observed sufficient deviations from correct practices to support a “Voluntary Actions Indicated” classification of the facility.

This recall represents the second major recall of Midwestern Pet Foods dry dog and cat foods in less than six months.

On December 30, 2020, the company announced a recall of six Sportmix products, manufactured in its Chickasha, Oklahoma, facility, due to excessive aflatoxin levels in the products. That recall was expanded on January 11, 2021, to include additional products and expiration dates.

What consumers should know

  • Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. 
  • Infected pets may shed Salmonella in their stools, whether or not they are showing symptoms of active illness.
  • Household members may come into contact with Salmonella through handling the contaminated pet food or by contact with their infected pet. Ensure that all household members pay careful attention to personal hygiene to avoid infection.
  • People infected with Salmonella may show symptoms including: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Contact your healthcare provider if you or any household member develops these symptoms.
  • You can report suspected illness to the FDA electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

SportMix pet foods contained massive amounts of aflatoxin

Multiple samples of SportMix pet foods, manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc., contained in excess of 400 parts per billion (ppb) of aflatoxin, according to information contained in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Inspectional Observations report (Form 483) dated 5 February 2021.

The FDA’s action level for aflatoxin in pet food is 20 ppb.

The contaminated pet foods, which were manufactured in Midwestern’s Chickasha (Oklahoma) production facility, were part of a major pet food recall announced by the company on December 30, 2020. The scope of the recall was expanded on January 11, 2021.

The recalled products had been sold nationwide across the USA and exported to 35 countries around the world.

The backstory

In December 2020, the FDA was informed of at least 28 dogs that had died and an additional eight that became ill after they were fed a SportMix pet food product.

As of January 21, 2021, the number of affected animals had reached 110 dead companion animals and an additional more than 210 sick pets. All of the deaths and illnesses were associated with a Midwestern Pet Foods dry pet food.

According to a spokesperson for the FDA, most of case reports involve dogs. The agency has received a few reports of cats who have been sickened by the contaminated pet food.

On December 31, 2021, the FDA initiated an investigation of Midwestern’s Chickasha facility. The inspection was completed on February 5, 2021.

The results of the investigation

The FDA and various state departments of agriculture tested numerous samples of Midwestern’s dry pet food products with the following results:

  • The Missouri Department of Agriculture tested eight samples from Lot Code 03032205L38162, including both SportMix Premium High Energy dog food and SportMix Original Recipe cat food. Total aflatoxin concentrations in these retail samples ranged from 483 ppb to 558 ppb.
  • The Office of the Texas State Chemist tested seven samples of Sportmix Premium Energy Plus dog food (Lot Code 03032205L3B164), which contained 395 ppb of total aflatoxin, and SportMix Original Recipe cat food (Lot Code 04292205L3B163), which contained 125 ppb. All seven samples contained levels of aflatoxin above the acceptable level.
  • The FDA tested retail samples of SportMix Premium High Energy dog food and SportMix Original Recipe cat food (Lot Code 04292205). The agency lab found 27.2 ppb of aflatoxin in a 31-lb bag of cat food and 21.5 ppb in a 15-lb bag of cat food.
  • While the FDA investigation was in progress, Midwestern arranged for a third-party lab to test retained samples of several pet food products that already had been distributed. The lab reported four positive test results: SportMix Energy Plus 24/20 (40.2 ppb), SportMix Stamina 24/18 (135.32 ppb), SportMix High Energy 26/18 (324.10 ppb) and SportMix Original Cat 30/10 (428.04 ppb).
  • The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) collected retail samples of three Midwestern pet food products. Two of the products were negative (less than 1 ppb) for aflatoxin. A sample of Sports Trail (Expiry date 03/08/22/05) contained 83.3 ppb aflatoxin. This information was supplied to eFoodAlert by the KDA in response to an Open Record Request.
  • The New Mexico Department of Agriculture collected and analyzed twelve samples, according to a spokesperson for the agency. A single sample of Sportmix Original Cat Food  (Lot: EXP 04/29/22/05/L3/B167 14:21) was found to contain 46 ppb aflatoxin.

How did this happen?

Although the company performed on-site sample collection and analysis for aflatoxin on incoming shipments of corn, its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), dated 8/17/18, for preparing samples for analysis was not correct, producing inaccurate test results.

The SOP was amended, effective 8/25/20, when a new test system was implemented.

In other words, for two years, the Chickasha production plant was underestimating the possible presence of aflatoxin in its incoming corn—the primary ingredient in many of its pet food products.

In addition to the aflatoxin issue, the FDA inspectors also noted that the company did not have an effective control in place to minimize or prevent the risk of Salmonella in its pet foods, nor did it control for two other mycotoxins, namely, fumonisin and vomitoxin.

Finally, after changing its aflatoxin testing system in August 2020, the company did not reanalyze its Food Safety Plan to reflect the change to its testing system or to include the required sample collection, preparation and testing protocol to be used.

Why is aflatoxin contamination a concern?

Aflatoxin is produced when the mold, Aspergillus flavus, grows on corn.

Dogs and cats are extremely sensitive to this toxin. When aflatoxin is consumed at low levels over a period of time, it can cause anorexia, depression, prostration, liver damage, hemorrhages, and other symptoms. At higher concentrations, it is lethal.

For dogs, a lethal dose of aflatoxin is 0.5-1.0 mg per kg of body weight, and 60µg per kg can be a toxic (even though nonlethal) dose.

Acute—deadly—poisoning has been documented in the past in dogs that had consumed commercial dry pet food contaminated with as little as 80-300 ppb aflatoxin.

The effects of aflatoxin poisoning on the system are cumulative, according to the FDA.

The victims

At least three lawsuits have been filed since pet owners became aware of the Midwestern aflatoxin contamination. Here are just a few of the stories, extracted from the formal Class Action Complaints:

  • Plaintiff Williams (Georgia) fed SportMix premium High Energy to his three American Pitbull Terriers, Jamaica, Red and Dozer. He had purchased the food in December 2020. All three dogs experienced sluggishness and gastrointestinal issues after consuming the food. Two of the dogs—Jamaica and Red—died suddenly and unexpectedly. Jamaica had given birth to a litter of eight puppies shortly after Christmas. All eight puppies also died. Dozer was the only survivor.
  • Plaintiff Woodall (North Carolina) purchased Sportmix Energy Plus in November or December 2020 and fed it to his previously healthy dog. Billy experienced loss of appetite, weight loss, gastrointestinal issues and growths on his intestines and anus. He was ultimately euthanized in early January 2021.
  • Plaintiff Griffin (Texas) purchased Sportmix Energy Plus in December 2020 and fed it to her rottweiler, Bishop. The dog experienced skin issues, gastrointestinal problems and testicular swelling. He was treated by a veterinarian (including neutering to address the swelling) and survived, but still experiences symptoms.
  • Plaintiff Romero fed SportMix pet food to her two dogs on Christmas Day, 2020, after which both dogs became seriously ill and were euthanized.
  • Plaintiff Starnes fed SportMix to his dogs, three of which died after becoming suddenly ill and appearing jaundiced.
  • Plaintiff Lill’s two dogs became ill after consuming SportMix. One dog began vomiting after being fed, and Lill switched to another food for that dog, who recovered. The other dog continued to eat SportMix, became jaundiced, had diarrhea, and died on December 20, 2020 on the way to the veterinarians office.

What pet owners should know, according to the FDA

There is no evidence to suggest that pet owners who handle products containing aflatoxins are at risk of aflatoxin poisoning. However, pet owners should always wash their hands after handling pet food and treats.

If your pet is showing signs of aflatoxin poisoning such as sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes, gums or skin due to liver damage), unexplained bruising or bleeding, and/or diarrhea, contact a veterinarian immediately. If your pet passes away prior to seeing a veterinarian and you suspect possible aflatoxin exposure, contact your veterinarian to discuss whether an autopsy (necropsy) may be appropriate to determine the cause of death. 

Provide a full diet history to your veterinarian, including what food or pet treats, you (or other household members) give the pet, and what other food or items the pet might have been exposed to. You may find it helpful to take a picture of the pet food label, including the lot number and best-by date. If your veterinarian suspects the food is the source of aflatoxins, having the lot code and best-by date helps FDA identify exactly when the contamination occurred and what other products might also be affected. This can help prevent other pets from getting sick. Don’t feed the products to your pets or any other animals. 

Pet owners can report suspected illness to FDA electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or by calling your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. It’s most helpful if you work with your veterinarian to submit a pet’s medical records as part of the report. For an explanation of the information and level of detail that would be helpful to include in a complaint to FDA, please see How to Report a Pet Food Complaint.

It’s also helpful if you save the food in its original package, in case it’s needed for testing. If testing is not needed, contact the company listed on the package for further instructions or throw the products away in a way that children, pets and wildlife cannot access them. 

If your pet is otherwise healthy, but you are still concerned about potential aflatoxin contamination in your pet’s food, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your pet’s diet, especially if your pet has other health conditions that require a specialized or restricted or diet.