Recalls and Alerts: December 1-2, 2022

TAINTED formats 3

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.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

Interested in learning more about food safety and the history of foodborne disease outbreaks and investigations? Click on the TAINTED menu at the top of the page to read or listen to a short excerpt, then follow the buy links to add a digital, print or audio copy to your personal library.

Listen to an excerpt of the audiobook edition right here

Chapter 6. Birth of a Pathogen

TAINTED is now available in digital format from all major on-line retailers.

United States

OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION UPDATE: CDC declares the E. coli O121:H19 outbreak over. Final tally is 24 confirmed illnesses in 6 states. Five people were hospitalized. The source of the outbreak was Frozen Earth Grown Vegan Traditional Falafel and Garlic & Herb Falafel, sold in Aldi stores.

Canada

Food Safety Recall: Station Rustique (Laurier-Station, QC) recalls FÈVES AU LARD / Baked beans (500 ml & 1 L; Sold up to November 30, 2022) due to potential food safety hazard.

Europe

OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION (MULTIPLE COUNTRIES): ECDC is investigating a nine-country outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka ST413 infections. Outbreak illnesses have been reported by Czechia (Czech Republic), Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. One person has died, and nineteen have been hospitalized out of the total of 196 confirmed and probable cases reported so far. The outbreak is thought to be linked to consumption of ready-to-eat chicken products, but a specific source has not yet been identified.

Allergy Alert (Finland): Moilas Oy recalls multiple Moilas brand gluten-free products due to undeclared gluten. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Allergy Alert (France): TOTOLA DeNeuville  recalls CRUZILLES brand PATE DE FRUITS MINI-PASTILLES ACIDULES / Fruit jellies (175g & 320g; Lot 22828) due to undeclared milk.

Allergy Alert (France): LABEYRIE FINE FOODS FRANCE recalls Blini brand Tarama Saumon Offre Découverte / Salmon Tarama Discovery Offer (255g; Lot 07223761; Use by 18/12/2022) due to undeclared milk.

Allergy Alert (France): MONOPRIX recalls Monoprix brand LA SOUPE Potimarron Graine de courge / Pumpkin seed soup (All Lots; Use by 14/12/2022) due to undeclared shrimp and celery.

Allergy Alert (Netherlands): PLUS recalls Feestelijk PLUS mini volkoren stol amandelspijs / Mini wholemeal almond paste stollen (100g; Best before 8-12-2022) due to undeclared hazelnut.

Allergy Alert (UK): Iceland Foods recalls Iceland Takeaway Pilau Rice (350g; Best before10 January 2024) due to undeclared egg, sesame, soy and wheat.

Food Safety Recall (France): NEOCADIS CENTRE E.LECLERC DE NEUFCHATEAU recalls CORMAREE brand CONGRE / Conger eel (3/5 kg; Lot 33422) due to presence of anisakis parasitic worm.

Food Safety Recall (France): COOPERATIVE U recalls U brand Brandade de morue parmentière / Cod brandade (750g & 750g + 20%; Lot 22326; Use by 02/12/2022) due to foreign matter contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): YARDEN FRANCE  recalls YARDEN TEHINA, Salade de pâte de sésame à l’ail et au persil / Sesame paste salad with garlic and parsley (250g; Lot 2306196504; Best before 01/01/2023) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): The Family Butchers Germany GmbH recalls K Classic Delikatess Salami geräuchert / Delicatessen smoked salami (200g; Lot #KEM0005264510; Best before 14.12.2022) due to possible foreign matter contamination (transparent plastic).

Food Safety Recall (Italy): FARTONS POLO recalls TRE MULINI brand FOCACCE CON OLIO EXTRA VERGINE DI OLIVA 8,7% / Focacce with extra virgin olive oil (200g; Lot 223740; Best before 13/01/2023) due to ochratoxin A contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): SALUMIFICIO COLLI di Colli Carlo & C. snc recalls Salumificio Colli brand SALAME STAGIONATO / Seasoned salami (400/600g – 800/1000g; Lot #13092022) due to Salmonella Typhimurium contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Netherlands): Lijfering Drankengroothandel recalls three varieties of EAULALA brand sparkling waters due to foreign matter contamination (glass shards). Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Netherlands): Makro recalls Kalfs Rosé Picanha / Veal rosé picanha (~1 kg; Batch code 990196845; Best before 03-12-2022) due to shigatoxin-producing E. coli contamination.

Food Safety Recall (UK): Nestlé UK recalls AERO Hot Chocolate products due to possible foreign matter contamination (small pieces of food grade silica beads). Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Australia and New Zealand

Allergy Alert (New Zealand): Foodstuffs Own Brands Ltd recalls Pams Finest brand Decadent Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies (300g; Best before 15 MAY 23) due to undeclared peanuts.

Chicken products fingered in international Salmonella outbreak

A deadly nine-nation outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka ST413 infections is most likely due to consumption of ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken products and/or fresh chicken meat, such as those used in sandwiches and wraps.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control,  196 cases have been reported in nine countries, including seven member states of the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK), and Israel since November 8, 2022.

Nineteen outbreak victims have been hospitalized, five of them with septicemia.

One person–a resident of the UK–has died.

Outbreak cases have been reported by the following countries:

  • Czechia (Czech Republic): 5 (none confirmed as yet)
  • Estonia: 3 (all confirmed)
  • Finland: 89 (42 confirmed and 47 possible)
  • France: 10 (all confirmed)
  • Germany: 2 (all confirmed)
  • Ireland: 1 (all confirmed)
  • Netherlands: 1 (all confirmed)
  • Israel: 4 (none confirmed as yet)
  • United Kingdom: 81 (all confirmed)

The UK was the first country to detect the outbreak, reporting a cluster of 31 cases from England (25), Scotland (3) and Wales (3) on May 20, 2022. Sample collection dates ranged between September 24, 2021 and April 23, 2022. Four of the patients were hospitalized, and one has died.

Finland followed on the UK’s heels with a report of nine cases on June 16, 2022.

The Finnish food safety authority has linked suspect products to an Estonian company, but this link could not be verified by traceback identification or microbiological analysis.

The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) is encouraging its member countries to sequence the genomes of Salmonella Mbandaka isolated from human sources and to interview those patients whose isolates match the outbreak strain.

Salmonella Mbandaka was first reported in 1948 in the Belgian Congo, where it was recovered from a patient suffering from salmonellosis.

The ST413 strain entered the Polish feed and poultry sector in the 1990s, and has been circulating in Poland and other EU countries since then.

The ECDC warns that new cases are likely to occur until the source of the outbreak has been identified and controlled.

Op-Ed. FDA acknowledges Kellogg – Kerry tie in Honey Smacks cereal outbreak

Now that the outbreak is over and the question is purely academic, FDA has acknowledged Kerry Inc. to be the manufacturer behind the Salmonella Mbandaka outbreak linked to contaminated Kellogg’s Honey Smacks breakfast cereal.

Earlier today, FDA released an update to its outbreak investigation report, stating:

“The FDA, CDC, along with state and local officials investigated a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka infections linked to Kellogg’s Honey Smacks sweetened puffed wheat cereal. The FDA worked with Kellogg’s to voluntarily recall Honey Smacks from the market and conducted an inspection at the manufacturing facility owned by Kerry, Inc., resulting in a warning letter identifying specific problems at the facility.

The FDA is working with Kellogg’s to ensure Honey Smacks are safe when they are again available to consumers and is continuing to warn consumers against eating any Honey Smacks with a marked “best if used by” date before June 14, 2019.”

The acknowledgment came just two days after CDC declared the outbreak to be at an end, and just three days after a spokesperson for FDA declined eFoodAlert’s request to identify the strain of Salmonella found during the agency’s inspection of the Kerry Inc. manufacturing facility in Gridley, Illinois.

Why the secrecy? Why the delay?

News of the outbreak first broke on June 14, 2018, with a voluntary recall announced by The Kellogg Company, and an outbreak investigation notice from FDA and CDC.

On July 26th, FDA released the text of a Warning Letter issued to Kerry Inc. pursuant to an inspection of the company’s Gridley, Illinois facility.

On July 31st, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to FDA for the inspection and lab reports on which the warning letter was based.

On September 25th, almost two months after making the request, I received the redacted reports. I immediately inquired as to why the specific Salmonella strain found inside the Kerry cereal production plant was redacted from the report. I was told, “The information you have received via foia is all we can provide at this time.” 

Why should this matter?

The Kellogg Company is not Kerry’s only customer.

As I reported three days ago, Kerry initiated its own voluntary recall on July 12th. The recall was not publicized. On July 16th, General Mills also issued an unpublicized recall for a Cheerios variety that contained an ingredient matching the description of the material recalled by Kerry.

According to a spokesperson for CDC, with whom I had an exchange of email messages in late August, no other cereals were linked to the outbreak. Nevertheless, many milder cases of salmonellosis always go unreported, especially by those who cannot afford a visit to the doctor or clinic.

There is no way of knowing whether anyone became infected as a result of eating the recalled General Mills cereal. And, in the absence of a public recall notice, US consumers were left ignorant of the risk.

Breakfast cereals, especially sweetened cereals, are consumed preferentially by children – one of the most vulnerable sectors of the population. In this instance, FDA put the ‘privacy’ concerns of Kellogg, Kerry, and other companies above its mandate to protect the public from contaminated food.