Recalls and Alerts: August 30 – September 2, 2020

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 ALERT UPDATE – ONIONS: CDC reports 1012 cases of Salmonella Newport infections linked to onions from Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, CA. Cases have been confirmed in 47 states, and 136 victims have been hospitalized. Only Oklahoma, Louisiana and Vermont have not reported any outbreak cases.

Allergy Alert: Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods recalls Ukrop’s Chicken Salad (15 oz; Sell by 09/02/20) due to undeclared almonds.

Canada

OUTBREAK ALERT UPDATE – ONIONS: PHAC reports 457 cases of Salmonella Newport infections linked to onions imported from Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, CA. Cases have been confirmed in British Columbia (107), Alberta (257), Saskatchewan (33), Manitoba (25), Ontario (11), Quebec (23) and Prince Edward Island (1). Sixty-six people have been hospitalized and there has been one death that may be linked to the outbreak.

Allergy Alert: Loblaw Companies Limited recalls PC brand chicken strips – gluten free (600g; Batch Code 2021 AL 20; UPC 0 60383 20488 4) due to undeclared gluten.

Allergy Alert: Boulangerie Le Marquis recalls Pain sarrasin / buckwheat bread (425g; Product sold up to and including 2 September 2020) due to undecalred wheat.

Allergy Alert: Whole Foods Market recalls Whole Foods brand Chicken Pot Pies, Turkey Pot Pies, and Vegetarian Pot Pies (All Best Before Dates up to and including 2020.AU26 where milk is not declared on the label) due to undeclared milk.

Food Safety Recall: Les Jardins Picoudi recalls three varieties of microgreens due to potential Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a detailed list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall Update: Aux Vivres recalls three tempeh products due to potential Bacillus cereus contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a detailed list of affected products.

Europe

Allergy Alert (Belgium): Freshasia Foods recalls Freshasia Dumpling (raviolis agneau & carotte) / Lamb and Carrot Dumplings (400g; Batch code 200402; Best before 6 April 2021) due to undeclared crustaceans.

Allergy Alert (Germany): Hermann Busse GmbH & Co. KG and Cux-Fleisch GmbH recall Busse brand mini meatballs in BBQ curry sauce (220g; Lot 341A; Best before 26.09.2020) due to undeclared wheat, eggs and mustard.

Allergy Alert (Ireland): Holland & Barrett recalls Holland & Barrett Super Hair Food Supplement 60 Coated Tablets 1 A Day Formula (60 tablets; Best before end dates February and March 2023; Batch codes 751519-01, 751519-03, 751944-01, 751949-03) due to undeclared soy.

Allergy Alert (Ireland): Lidl Ireland recalls Lidl Vitasia Style Kimchi Spicy (190g; Batch #L459ODA 5A 2100/08283 004; Best before 07.11.2020) due to undeclared fish and crustaceans.

Allergy Alert (Ireland): Industry recalls Denny Slow Cooked Wafer Thin Crumbed Irish Ham (90g; Best before 20th September 2020) due to undeclared wheat (gluten).

Allergy Alert (UK): Freshasia Foods recalls Freshasia brand Lamb and Carrot Dumplings (400g; Batch code 200402; Best before 6 April 2021) due to undeclared crustaceans.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Colruyt recalls Saucisson de jambon / ham sausage (300g; Best by 15/09/2020) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Stonemanor International LTD recalls GREGGS STEAK BAKES 2PK (280g; Best before 20 December 2020, 22 December 2020, 23 December 2020) due to foreign matter (plastic pieces) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): LMCHOP recalls Georges brand Pasta de Mici (1kg; Lot #PDM280820; Best by 01/09/2020) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Industry recalls Sodebo brand Salade & Compagnie « Antibes » (320g; Best by 06/09/2020) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Mars Belgium recalls Suzi Wan brand soy sauces due to potential foreign matter (pieces of glass) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for complete details on the affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Colruyt Group recalls Everyday cornichons aigres-doux / Sweet-and-sour pickles (670g; Best before 20/7/2022) due to foreign matter (pieces of glass) contamination.

Food Safety Recall Update (Belgium): Seagull NV recalls Appetit brand Filets de truite fumés BIO / Organic smoked trout filets (125g; Lot Nos. 17180820 & 18190820; Best by 07/09/2020, 09/09/2020, 10/09/2020, 11/09/2020, 14/09/2020) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Hilton Foods A/S recalls Coop tatar – minced meat below 6% fat (180g; Expiry date 04.09.2020) and Coop ground beef – minced meat (Expiry date 07.09.2020) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): La Maison CAVET recalls CAVET brand Chèvre blanc Bio / Organic white goat cheese (2-pack; Lot AB123_2208; Best before 23/09/2020 & 24/09/2020) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): SODEBO recalls SODEBO brand Salade & Compagnie Recette Antibes (320g; Best by 06/09/2020) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Plant-for-the-Planet Service GmbH recalls three varieties of Die Gute Schokolade due to foreign matter (pieces of plastic) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete lisit of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Euco GmbH recalls Ming Chu Asia Cuisine Mango Chutney Fruchtig Scharf / Fruity and hot (230g; Best before 27.12.2021) due to foreign matter (glass pieces) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Iceland): Grönvang Food Aps recalls Naturli organic vegan butter (225g; Best before 22.09.2020 and 23.09.2020) due to mold growth.

Food Safety Recall Update (Luxembourg): Cactus and Auchan recalls Florette brand Plateau Apéro (600g; Lots 04164374N, 07019283, 07019281, 07021123; Best before 04/09/2020, 05/09/2020, 06/09/2020) due to foreign matter (metal particles) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): SODEBO recalls SODEBO brand Salade & Compagnie Recette Antibes (320g; Best by 06/09/2020) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): Colruyt recalls Everyday cornichons aigres-doux / Sweet-and-sour pickles (670g; Best before 20/7/2022) due to foreign matter (pieces of glass) contamination.

Australia and New Zealand

Food Safety Recall (Australia): Freedom Foods recalls MILKLAB Almond Milk (1 L; Best before 18/06/21, 01/07/21, 20/07/21, 29/07/21, 06/08/21) and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Chocolate Almond Milk (1 L; Best before 27/04/21) due to potential contamination with Pseudomonas bacteria.

Food Safety Recall (New Zealand): Woolworths NZ Ltd recalls Only Organic, Natureland, and Smiling Tums brand baby food in squeezable pouches due to packaging damage caused by mice found in 2 of their distribution centres. Please refer to the recall notice for additional details.

Shocked and Saddened

Dear Readers,

On March 31, 2013, I announced that I was “moving on,” and I ended my daily posts on eFoodAlert. Since then, I have been concentrating on my creative writing projects. Nevertheless, I’ve continued to monitor food safety stories, muttering under my breath from time to time about the quality of some of the coverage. But I have not been motivated to comment publicly on any of these stories until today’s release of a pet food safety study carried out under the auspices of The Association For Truth In Pet Food (ATPF). I decided that I could not let this report stand unchallenged and unanswered.

The Association for Truth In Pet Food (ATPF), headed by Susan Thixton, has just released a report that details the results of mycotoxin, nutrient and bacteria tests carried out on a number of brands of canned and dry cat foods and dog foods. According to James Andrews, writing for Food Safety News, the testing program was sponsored by consumers through crowdfunding and coordinated by ATPF.

Susan Thixton, writing in her TruthAboutPetFoods.com blog, describes the results of the study as “shocking and sad.” In my opinion, her adjectives are correct, but misapplied. What I find “shocking and sad” is the waste of consumers’ money in a wild goose chase after low-level pathogens of minimal risk to either humans or their pets.

Consider the “qualifying pathogens” reported in the detailed study:

  • Acinetobacter. This is a low-grade pathogen that is mainly associated with hospital-acquired infections (especially in intensive care units), or with community-spread outbreaks in war zones and natural disaster areas.
  • Pseudomonas. These bacteria are present in the environment, in our water, and in food. It is a cause of “swimmer’s ear.” Otherwise, Pseudomonas is an opportunistic pathogen, typically either hospital-acquired or affecting individuals with compromised immune systems or respiratory systems, such as cystic fibrosis patients.
  • Streptococcus. While some species of Streptococcus are pathogenic (eg., Streptococcus pyogenes), others are benign. Some species of Streptococcus are used in the production of fermented dairy products, and are considered to be probiotic.
  • Staphylococcus. While Staphylococcus aureus is associated with food poisoning (via its production of enterotoxins), and with infections, other species of Staphylococcus are either benign or are low-grade pathogens associated with hospital-acquired infections. Staphylococcus epidermidis is a common inhabitant of the skin of humans and animals. Even Staphylococcus aureus is carried on the skin and in the nasal passages of many individuals.
  • Bacillus. Most species of Bacillus are benign and are widely dispersed in the environment. Bacillus is a spore-former and very heat-resistant. It can be found with great frequency in dried foods, including spices, flour, and powdered dairy products. Bacillus cereus is a source of foodborne illness, but it must attain high concentrations before it can cause illness.

In addition to these “qualifying pathogens,” the study organizers decided to troll through the foods for a long list of other irrelevant microbes, including: Anaerococcus, Comamonadaceae, Corynebacteriaceae, Halomonas (another low-risk pathogen associated with contamination of intravenous lines), Cloacibacterium, Bifidobacterium (a probiotic), Pantoea, Gemella, Peptoniphilus, Actinomyces, Sphingobium, Bradyrhizobium, Tumebacillus, Paracoccus, Paenibacillus, Lactococcus, Acetobacter, Chloroplast, and Lactobacillus (a probiotic).

The author of the study provided absolutely no rationale for this selection. Nor was any explanation offered for excluding known human and animal pathogens, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, from the list. Where was the logic in this? What was the point in throwing money at a laundry list of irrelevant microbes? The funding did not allow species-level identification of any of the bacteria, according to the study report. Yet, without species-level identification, the results of the bacterial testing of the pet foods are worthless.

I also take issue with the presentation of the mycotoxin test results. The results are reported at levels of parts per billion (PPB), whereas these results are usually reported as parts per million (ppm) . By changing the manner of reporting the results, the study makes the data appear more shocking. For example, FDA recommends a limit of 10ppm for fumonisins in grain destined for pet food. This is the same as saying10,000 parts per billion. Even the worst performing pet food sample was well within this guidance level. Furthermore, the comparison table presents an arbitrary set of risk values generated using a proprietary formula developed by Alltech, an animal nutrition company. There is no way to substantiate the validity or the significance of these so-called risk levels.

I have refrained from commenting on the portion of the report dealing with nutritional analysis, as this is outside of my expertise. I sincerely hope that someone else will put this portion of the report under a microscope.

I acknowledge the good intentions of Susan Thixton and the Association for Truth in Pet Food, but I am appalled at the way in which this study was designed and carried out. The portions of the study relating to bacterial analysis and presentation of the mycotoxin results are the epitome of junk science. The pet-loving consumers who funded this study – and their dogs and cats – deserved far better.