Recalls and Alerts: June 15–16, 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

OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION UPDATE: FDA continues to investigate the source of an outbreak of six cases of Salmonella Weltevreden infections. The outbreak appears to be associated with consumption of pre-cooked shrimp. It appears that the product lots linked to outbreak illnesses are past its shelf life and are no longer available for sale. 

Food Safety Recall: Designed by Nature recalls Goat’s Milk Powder, Cow’s Milk Powder and Base Milk Powder formulas (Expiration dates from May 01, 2021 thru June 11, 2022), because they are deficient in multiple nutrients required for infant formula, and the products have not been tested for the presence of Cronobacter, a pathogen that can be particularly dangerous to infants and is required testing for powdered infant formula. The company plans to change its labeling to make it clear that these products are not intended to be used as infant formula for infants 12 months and younger.

Food Safety Recall: BCFoods, Inc. recalls BC Foods Celery Stalk and Leaf Dice 3/8, AD Sulfites (11 lb. Poly lined bulk fiber carton; Item code: VCE1-D38-AXG-AB-AR; Lot 2615A112) due to Salmonella contamination. The recalled product was supplied to manufacturers and distributors in WI, OH, FL, MD, WA, PA, MN, and CA.

Food Safety Recall: BCFoods, Inc. recalls BC Foods AD Celery Stalk Canners (25 lb. Poly lined bulk fiber carton; Item code VCES-TCA-BJA-AA-AB; Lots 770C2307 670C2303 660C2214) BC Foods AD Celery Stalk Cross Cut (25 lb. Poly lined bulk fiber carton; Item code VCES-TC9-BQS-AC-AB; Lots 770C2307 670C2303 660C2214) and BC Foods AD Celery Stalk Cross Cut (25 lb. Poly lined bulk fiber carton; Item code VCES-TC9-BQS-AG-AB; Lots 770C2307 670C2303 660C2214) due to Salmonella contamination. The recalled product was supplied to manufacturers and distributors in WI, OH, FL, MD, WA, PA, MN, and CA.

FDA Warning Letter: FDA issues Warning Letter to Market of Choice, LLC, citing deficiencies in identifying undeclared allergens in identifying contamination with environmental pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella, as a hazard requiring a preventive control in the company’s ready-to-eat salads.

Canada

Food Safety Recall: Phoenicia Group Inc. recalls Al-Rabih brand Tahini (100% Sesame) – Sesame Paste (454g; Lot #157 29420; Best before 22/OC/19) due to potential Salmonella contamination.

Europe

Allergy Alert (Denmark): Kohberg Bakery Group A/S recalls Kohberg Grødboller / porridge buns (450g; Use by 22.06.2021) due to undeclared yoghurt powder (milk protein).

Allergy Alert (France): JACQUET BROSSARD DISTRIBUTION recalls Brossard brand  Le Brownie Pocket Duo Choco (8 pieces; Lot #U067PB1; Best before 13/09/21) due to undeclared hazelnuts.

Allergy Alert (France): Bio Co-op recalls Ikalia brand Chocolat noir fourré caramel 70% / Dark chocolate with caramel filling (80g; Lot #11450006; Use by 20/05/2022) because the product contains milk, even though it is labeled “vegan.”

Allergy Alert (Netherlands): Albert Heijn recalls AH brand 100% Notenpasta amandel / Almond Nut Paste (Expiration dates 31-05-2021, 30-06-2021, 31-07-2021, 31-08-2021, 30-09-2021 and 30-11-2021) due to undeclared peanuts.

Allergy Alert (UK): The Skinny Food Co recalls a variety of Skinny High Protein Low Sugar Duo Bars because they contain milk at higher levels than indicated on the label. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Austria): Berglandmilch eGen recalls Schärdinger Brat- und Grillkäse Natur, 45% / Roast- and grill cheese (150g; Lot #115890; Best before 02.08.2021) due to Listeria contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Pågen A/S recalls Pågen Vanillas (220g; Use by 29.06.2021-07.07.2021) due to potential for mold formation.

Food Safety Recall (France): Carrefour recalls Carrefour brand Carottes râpées au jus de citron de Sicile / Grated carrots with Sicilian lemon juice (300g; Lot #116101 between 6h00 and 9h00; Best before 30/06/2021) due to foreign matter (pieces of hard, blue plastic) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): E. Leclerc recalls ECO+ brand Mini pâté en croûte / Pâté in pastry crust (450g; Best before 24/06/2021) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): GAEC LE MERINOS recalls various Gaec le Merinos brand Veloutés et soupes « Les mitonnés de la Ferme  » (500 ml and 1L jars) due to defective sterilization that could render the products unsafe to consume. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (France): Gaec Le Merinos recalls various Gaec le Merinos brand delicatessen products due to defective sterilization that could render the products unsafe to consume. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Ireland): Dunlavin Dairy recalls all Dunlavin Dairy raw and pasteurised milk, semi-skimmed milk, buttermilk, cream and butter, because they were produced in an unapproved establishment. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): Pastificio Novella sas recalls Pastificio Novella sas brand pesto genovese senza aglio / Genoese pesto without garlic (130g; Lot L171; Best before 19.06.2021) because the product does not meet safety standards.

Pet Food Safety Recall (UK): Fold Hill Foods recalls several hypoallergenic cat food products due to an increase in cases of pancytopenia in cats and a possible link to the cat food products. Pancytopenia is a very rare condition wherein the number of blood cells (red, white and platelets) rapidly decreases, causing serious illness. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Australia and New Zealand

OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION (New Zealand): New Zealand Food Safety is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections that may be linked to consumption of poultry and/or eggs.

Reality of our world: Money trumps altruism in the quest for safer poultry

This is part two of a two-part opinion piece by Carl Custer. It first appeared in Food Safety News and is reposted here with permission.

In the previous article, I wrote about the decades-old public health problem of poultry-borne salmonellosis. This article will propose declaring the virulent strains that are pathogenic to humans as adulterants and the benefits of doing so.

Regulatory policies for other foodborne pathogens recognize consumer’s inability to handle them. The Code of Federal regulations, 9 CFR 311.2-39 describes a number of conditions for declaring meat carcasses adulterated, including: tuberculosis, arthritis, and odors. The poultry regulations 9 CFR, 381.80 et seq are similar. The Meat Inspection Regulations, 9 CFR 315.2 permit some meat products that are found adulterated under 311 to be passed for cooking – under the oversight of federal inspections, not in consumers’ kitchens. In 1995, the top administrator of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Craig Reed, use that principle in his letter permitting lots of ground beef containing Escherichia coli O157:H7 to be cooked in a federal establishment – not in consumers’ kitchens.

Treatment of raw meat and poultry by cooking, irradiation, or high pressure processing would eliminate consumer exposure to those pathogens. However, one of the primary sources of foodborne pathogens now is contaminated produce. A growing body of scientific literature indicates a major source of these pathogens is food animal production via air 2, water 1, and manure 4. (These are only three recent papers of many). The 2018 meeting of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) in Salt Lake City had more than 20 sessions addressing preharvest contamination of soil, water and produce. There is also a large body of scientific literature on preharvest interventions in animals including isolation, competitive exclusion, probiotics, prebiotics, and vaccination. 

Interventions cost and thus, producers need incentives. Incentives include altruism, regulations, customer specifications, and litigation. A 2018 IAFP Round Table “RT9: Do Lawsuits Play a Productive Role in Advancing Food Safety?” suggested that customer specifications and regulations produced faster results; lawsuits were too far in the future. The COSTO and Walmart speakers said customer specifications are effective. Regulation has had some effect on E. coli O157:H7 in beef, but certainly not eliminated it in either commerce or preharvest.6 One can only speculate what the results would be if FSIS had not declared it an adulterant in 1994. We know more each year what the effect is of not declaring outbreak strains of Salmonella as adulterants.

The FSIS has the legal means to prevent these adulterants from entering commerce. The Meat and Poultry Inspection Acts 8-9 empower FSIS inspectors to conduct ante mortem and post mortem inspection of all animals before processing them into food. Traditionally, that has been visual inspection but not always. FSIS’s 2013 “Compliance Guide For Residue Prevention” uses laboratory results to compile a list, “The Residue Repeat Violator List.” It is composed of suppliers who have had more than one residue violation in the preceding 12 months. Thus, animals from a producer on that list present a “hazard reasonably likely to occur.” The HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) rules require establishments to have controls to prevent any product with violative residues from entering commerce. Failure to do so is a violation of 9 CFR 417.6. FSIS can sample carcasses or live animals and the laboratory will report any violation to Field Operations for action. 

The principle used for residues could be applied to outbreak strains of certain bacterial pathogens also. These strains are adulterants as defined by both the Inspection Acts and the Code of Federal Regulations. FSIS routinely samples carcasses and products for pathogenic bacteria. When an outbreak strain is detected and traced back to an establishment, the establishment can identify the producer and that producer would be put on a “Adulterant Carrier List.” Future animals from that producer and their products must either be treated to inactivate any adulterants or tested (ICMSF Case 15) until the producer has implemented validated controls and verified their effectiveness to prevent future contamination. If the establishment cannot identify the producer, then all product from that establishment would be treated or tested under ICMSF Case 15 to prevent any adulterants from entering commerce.

This would be a harsh rule and FSIS would likely be sued by the industry. The outcome should be similar to Texas Food Industry Ass’n v. Espy7 where E. coli O157:H7 was found to be an adulterant in ground beef because consumers would eat the product rare. So why not Salmonella? The difference would be that FSIS could use the half century of scientific findings that cross contamination within consumer’s kitchens is a major source of foodborne illnesses, not just undercooking. Thus poultry and other meat products would be included.

The outcome of FSIS promulgating such a regulatory policy would be that preharvest control of pathogenic bacteria in food animal production would begin to be addressed. This action would begin to reduce the environmental contamination that reaches produce fields via waterways and even highways5.

Assays for pathogens have advanced rapidly in the past decade3. Methods are more rapid, sensitive, and specific. The FSIS, processors, and producers can use these methods to rapidly verify that interventions are working and adulterants are not being found in products.

It would be wonderful if altruism was the incentive for preventing adulterants from entering commerce. Alas, we do not live in that world. But let us take USC 602 to heart and apply it to preharvest control.

 References

1. Alegbeleye OO, Singleton I, Sant’Ana AS. 2018. Sources and contamination routes of microbial pathogens to fresh produce during field cultivation: A review. Food Microbiology. 73: 177-208. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2018.01.003

2. Berry ED, Wells JE, Bono JL, Woodbury BL, Kalchayanand N, Norman KN, Suslow TV, López-Velasco G, Millner PD. 2015. Effect of proximity to a cattle feedlot on Escherichia coli O157:H7 contamination of leafy greens and evaluation of the potential for airborne transmission. Appl Environ Microbiol 81:1101–1110. doi:10.1128/AEM.02998-14.

3. Besser, John M. 2018. Salmonella epidemiology: A whirlwind of change. Food Microbiology 71:55-59.

4. Heredia, Norma, Santos, García. 2018. Animals as sources of food-borne pathogens: A review. Animal Nutrition. In Press  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aninu.2018.04.006

5. Seedorf J, Schmidt RG.. 2017.  The simulated air flow pattern around a moving animal transport vehicle as the basis for a prospective biosecurity risk assessment. Heliyon 3:00358

6. Swaggerty, Christina L., Ester Grilli, Andrea Piva, Nicolae Corcionivoschi, Steven C. Ricke, Todd R. Callaway. 2018. The First 30 Years of Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli in Cattle Production: Preharvest Intervention Strategies.  Food and Feed Safety Systems and Analysis- Chapter 8. Pages 133–151 https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-811835-1.00008-7

7. Texas Food Industry Ass’n v. Espy, 870 F. Supp. 143 (W.D. Tex. 1994) US District Court for the Western District of Texas – 870 F. Supp. 143 (W.D. Tex. 1994) December 13, 1994

8. 21 U.S. Code § 455. Inspection in official establishments (Poultry Inspection)

9. 21 U.S. Code § 603 – Examination of animals prior to slaughter; use of humane methods (Meat Inspection)