Recalls and Alerts: February 17-18, 2022

 

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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: FDA reports three cases of Cronobacter sakazakii infections and one case of Salmonella Newport infection in infants who were fed powdered infant formula manufactured by Abbott Nutrition (Sturgis, MI). The infections were reported in Minnesota (1), Ohio (1) and Texas (2). All four infants were hospitalized and one has died. The manufacturer has initiated a voluntary recall (see notice below).

OUTBREAK ALERT: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) is investigating an outbreak of three cases of Salmonella infections in individuals who handled Dog Gone Dog Treats. All three outbreak victims are residents of Essex County, MA. Two of the victims are adults in their 70s and the third is a child. The MDPH lab has recovered Salmonella from opened and unopened packages of the dog treats.

Allergy Alert: Lehi Valley Trading Company recalls three brands of Yogurt Raisins due to undeclared peanut. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Family Dollar, Inc. recalls certain products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that were stored and shipped to 404 stores from Family Dollar Distribution Center 202 in West Memphis, Arkansas from January 1, 2021 through the present due to the presence of rodents and rodent activity at Family Dollar Distribution Center 202. Products covered by this retail level recall include all: (i) drugs; (ii) medical devices; (iii) cosmetics; (iv) dietary supplements; and (v) human and animal (pet) food products. Please refer to the recall notice for additional information, including a list of affected stores.

Food Safety Recall: Corfu Foods, Inc. recalls PACIFIC DYNASTY SWAI FILLETS (15-lb bulk corrugated box packages; Lot code VN 461 VI 354; Product of Vietnam) because the product was not presented for import reinspection into the United States.

POWDERED INFANT FORMULA SAFETY RECALL: Abbott recalls certain production lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas after four illnesses were associated with consumption of these products (see FDA Outbreak Investigation notice). The recalled products were distributed nationwide in the USA and also exported to Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Peru, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Vietnam ANI South.

Canada

POWDERED INFANT FORMULA SAFETY RECALL: Abbott recalls multiple Abbott brand (Similac) powdered infant formula products from the marketplace due to possible Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella contamination. These products were distributed across Canada. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products. There have been reported illnesses associated with consumption of these products in the USA, but no illnesses have been reported in Canada.

Allergy Alert: Frobisher International Enterprises Ltd. recalls 3Fish brand Sauerkraut Fish (Szechuan Style) (400g; UPC 8 74718 00529 5; All codes that do not declare milk on the label) and Tilapia Soup with Pickled Vegetables (400g; UPC 8 74718 00534 9; All codes that do not declare milk on the label) due to undeclared milk.

Food Safety Recall: Las Olas Traiteur (Longueuil, QC) recalls Las Olas traiteur BŒUF BOURGUIGNON (380g; Sold from 17 January 2022 to 21 January 2022), because the product was prepared and packed in a manner that may render it unsafe to consume.

Europe

POWDERED INFANT FORMULA SAFETY RECALL: Abbott recalls certain production lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas after four illnesses were associated with consumption of these products (see FDA Outbreak Investigation notice). The recalled products were distributed nationwide in the USA and also exported to the United Kingdom.

Allergy Alert (Belgium): AFSCA orders recall of Sau Tao Bean Strip noodles (All Best before dates for 2022) due to undeclared soy.

Allergy Alert (Belgium): Brasserie de Silenrieux recalls Cuvée des Lacs de l’eau d’Heure beer (Lot 229A; Best before end of 2022) due to undeclared gluten.

Allergy Alert (Denmark): Lidl Danmark recalls Pistachio Mix (200g) due to undeclared wheat flour and eggs.

Allergy Alert (Netherlands): Liroy B.V. recalls Sau Tao Amoy Bean Strip (250g; (All Best before dates for 2022) due to undeclared soy.

Allergy Alert (Spain): Food Safety Authority reports that SANAVI brand Harifen Vanilla Cookies (200g; Lot 35L & 29J; Expiration dates 04.30.2023 & 02.28.2023, respectively) contain undeclared soy.

Allergy Alert (UK): Liroy B.V. recalls Sau Tao (Sun Shun Fuk) ST Amoy Bean Strip (250g; All dates) due to undeclared soy.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): LT Foods recalls Golden Sun brand Riz Basmati / Basmati rice (1 kg; Best before 06/10/2023) due to aflatoxin contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Jumbo recalls Jumbo biologische kipdijlapjes / Organic chicken thighs (220g; Best before 19-02-2022 and 21-02-2022) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Albert Heijn recalls Albert Heijn brand Basmati rijst Aromatisch / Aromatic basmati rice (400g; Best before 10/08/2023) due to ochratoxin contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): AFSCA orders recall of Matias brand Farinha de Milho Amarela / Yellow corn flour (500g; Lot 070621D2; Best before 01/04/2022) due to fumonisin contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): GAEC LA BAROTIERE recalls several varieties of GAEC LA BAROTIERE brand FROMAGE DE CHEVRE FERMIERS / Farmer’s goat cheese due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (France): CARREFOUR ANTIBES recalls SALADE DE MUSEAUX VINAIGRETTE (Sold from 6 February 2022 to 7 February 2022 at the Charcuterie stand of CARREFOUR ANTIBES) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Fromagerie Le Pic recalls Le Pic brand SAPIC BLANC LS cheese (Lot 15012224; Best before 23/02/2022) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): LSP Sporternährung GmbH recalls Oat King Haferriegel “Milk & Honey” / Oat bar (95g; Lot 777; Best before 20.09.2022) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Dirk Rossmann GmbH recalls enerBio Pistaziencreme / Pistachio cream (200g; Best before 08.03.2023) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Iceland): Fiskvinnslan Hrefna recalls Ísfirðingur brand Smoked Salmon (Expiry dates 14.1.02022, 14.02.2022 and 08.03.2022) and Ísfirðingur brand Smoked Rainbow (Expiry date 08.03.2022) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): Food Safety Authority orders recall of Oat King Haferriegel “Milk & Honey” / Oat bar (95g; Lot 777; Best before 20.09.2022) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Netherlands): Jumbo recalls Jumbo biologische kipdijlapjes / Organic chicken thighs (220g; Best before 19-02-2022 and 21-02-2022) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Netherlands): Bio+ recalls Bio+ kipdijfilet / Organic chicken thighs, deboned (220g; Best before 21-02-2022) due to possible Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Netherlands): Odin Groothandel BV recalls multiple products containing chicken due to possible Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Romania): SC MONTANA POPA SRL recalls Salam Picantella / Salami (Lot L155627012022; Expiry date 27.04.2022) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Romania): SC La Meseni SRL recalls Salam Verona / Raw, dried salami (300g; Lot 13; Expiry date 01.05.2022) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Pet Food Safety Recall (UK): Dogs Choice UK recalls Frozen Chicken and Beef, Frozen Chicken and Beef Ready Meal, and Frozen Chicken Liver raw dog foods (500g; Batch code 080222+2; Best before 08 August 2022) due to Salmonella contamination.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

POWDERED INFANT FORMULA SAFETY RECALL: Abbott recalls certain production lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas after four illnesses were associated with consumption of these products (see FDA Outbreak Investigation notice). The recalled products were distributed nationwide in the USA and also exported to Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Peru, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Vietnam ANI South.

Australia and New Zealand

POWDERED INFANT FORMULA SAFETY RECALL: Abbott recalls certain production lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas after four illnesses were associated with consumption of these products (see FDA Outbreak Investigation notice). The recalled products were distributed nationwide in the USA and also exported to Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Peru, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Vietnam ANI South.

Allergy Alert (New Zealand): Functional Whole Foods New Zealand Ltd recalls specific batches and dates of its Waihi Bush Organic Farm brand Flax Fibre – Original, Waihi Bush Organic Farm brand Flax Fibre Balancing Greens, Waihi Bush Organic Farm brand Flax Fibre Detoxalin, and Waihi Bush Organic Farm brand Women’s Support due to undeclared gluten. Please refer to the recall notice for complete details for the affected products.

Latin America and the Caribbean

POWDERED INFANT FORMULA SAFETY RECALL: Abbott recalls certain production lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas after four illnesses were associated with consumption of these products (see FDA Outbreak Investigation notice). The recalled products were distributed nationwide in the USA and also exported to Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Peru, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Vietnam ANI South.

URGENT PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING

Powdered infant formula made by Abbott Nutrition linked to Cronobacter and Salmonella illnesses.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating four consumer complaints of infant illnesses linked to products from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, MI facility.

The complaints span a period of time from September 6, 2021 to December 18, 2021, and were reported from Minnesota (1), Ohio (1) and Texas (2).

All four infants were fed powdered infant formula produced in Abbott’s Sturgis facility.

The complaints include three reports of Cronobacter illness and one report of Salmonella Newport illness in infants.

All four infants were hospitalized, and one of the infected infants has died.

The death may not be solely attributable to the Cronobacter infection.

The FDA has been conducting an inspection of the facility and has found Cronobacter in several environmental samples. In addition, the company’s internal records include findings of environmental contamination with Cronobacter.

Company records also document the destruction of finished product due to Cronobacter contamination.

The FDA is advising consumers not to use Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powdered infant formulas if:

  • the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37 and
  • the code on the container contains K8, SH, or Z2, and
  • the expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.

At this time, the FDA’s advisory is limited to these specific products.

Abbott Nutrition is working with the FDA to initiate a voluntary recall of these products.

Affected products were distributed across the United States and also were likely exported to other countries.

How serious is Cronobacter?

Cronobacter is a foodborne bacterium that can cause a rare, but serious illness in infants. Newborn infants are especially susceptible.

In 2001, nine infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of a Tennessee hospital were infected with Cronobacter as a result of being tube-fed a batch of Portagen powdered infant formula manufactured by Mead Johnson. One of the babies died.

According to the FDA’s advisory, Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe, life-threatening infections (sepsis) or meningitis (an inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine). Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis may include poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice (yellow skin and whites of the eyes), grunting breaths, and abnormal movements. Cronobacter infection may also cause bowel damage and may spread through the blood to other parts of the body.

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should notify your child’s healthcare provider and seek medical care for your child immediately. Healthcare providers and health departments are encouraged to report any confirmed cases of Cronobacter sakazakii to CDC.

Additional information about Cronobacter can be found on the CDC’s website. A history of Cronobacter infections (including the 2001 outbreak linked to Portagen infant formula) can be found in Chapter One of TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures.

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Onions—a Post-mortem

Reported cases: 1,642
Hospitalizations:
246
States affected:
48
Provinces affected:
7
Infectious agent: Salmonella Newport
Probable source: Red onions produced and packed by Thomson International, Inc. of Bakersfield, CA


Two months after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) declared this outbreak over, its root cause remains a mystery.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has plowed through more than 2,000 samples, testing finished products, swab and environmental samples from Thomson’s packing facility, and environmental samples from the vicinity of the fields where the onions were grown.

FDA labs recovered eleven different Salmonella serotypes from the various environmental samples, according to information obtained by eFoodAlert in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Although Salmonella Newport was found in two samples described as soil/sediment, neither sample yielded the outbreak strain recovered from patients.

Not one of the onions tested in FDA labs were Salmonella-positive.

Not one of the swab samples obtained from inside the Thomson packing facility were Salmonella-positive.

But this is not the whole story. To understand FDA’s findings, it’s important to know more about onions.

The onion

Onions can be grown from seeds, seedlings, or sets (immature onion bulbs). The crop is ready for harvest when at least one-half of the leaves are dead.

In order to ensure an adequate storage life, the onions must be left in the field to “cure” for at least 12–24 hours. This allows the outer skin to dry. Curing is complete when the neck of the onion (the top of the bulb) is dry and tight.

After curing, the onions are “topped” above the neck to remove the leaves, after which they are ready for eating or for extended storage.

Onions are closely related to garlic and, like garlic, onions produce certain essential oils that possess anti-bacterial properties. Although Salmonella can survive on onions, these essential oils complicate the process of detecting the bacteria.

Thomson’s onion operations

Onions are onions, whether grown in a small backyard or in a large commercial field. The same principles apply. The differences are those of scale.

Thomson’s onions are grown from seeds in two different parts of California. The company uses fields both near Bakersfield, where its packing house is located, and just outside Holtville, in California’s Imperial Valley, approximately 330 miles to the south.

When the onion crop is ready for harvest, Thomson’s crews use specialized equipment to dig beneath the bulbs and cut them out of the ground. The onions are left in the field to cure.

Once the onions have cured, a crew of farm laborers works its way through the field, trimming off the tops and bottoms of the onions, culling and discarding damaged onions, and placing the trimmed onions into buckets.

Culled onions and the trimmed-off tops and bottoms are left in the field to be plowed back into the soil when it is prepared for the next crop.

The full buckets are poured into burlap bags, which are left in the field for additional curing.

Once curing is complete, the onions are either shipped in bulk directly to customers or are transported to Thomson’s Bakersfield packing facility, where they are brushed clean and packed for distribution.

What FDA did not find

  • No “egregious” conditions or violations of the Produce Safety Rule
  • No direct evidence of the outbreak strain in bagged onions
  • No direct evidence of the outbreak strain in any environmental samples either at the packing facility or in and around the fields

What FDA found in Bakersfield

  • Cats in and near the onion packing lines
  • Pigeons flying or roosting inside the packing house
  • Apparent bird droppings on and near the onion packing line
  • A thick build-up of dirt and soil on the packing line even after the most recent cleaning/sanitizing activity
  • Rough, dirty weld points on the packing line
  • Inadequate documentation of cleaning/sanitizing activity
  • Swallow nests overhead within a few feet of an onion-packing line
  • Inconsistent cleaning/sanitation Standard Operating Procedures documentation
  • Inconsistent bacteriological testing of agricultural water for coliforms and E. coli.
  • Salmonella in animal scat, drain sediment, and environmental swab sample and on a water filter

What FDA found in Holtville

  • Worn and uneven areas on field packing equipment that could harbor bacteria
  • Indications of bird activity around the fields and equipment
  • Flock of birds (ibis) in field undergoing flood irrigation adjacent to field where onions had been grown
  • Salmonella, including Salmonella Newport, in several soil/sediment samples

And then there’s the water…

Information received under a Freedom of Information Act request is often heavily redacted, as anyone knows who watches The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. This is what FDA’s investigation report had to say about the source of irrigation water used on the onion fields.

It would appear that irrigation water was drawn from a different source than was usual on at least one occasion. The details and date(s) on which this took place were redacted from the report, as was the diagram showing the flow of water from the source to the fields.

Why does this matter?

Irrigation water polluted by runoff from cattle feedlots has been linked to contaminated produce grown in the Salinas and Imperial Valleys in the past. A quick look at a Google map for the areas around Bakersfield and Holtville reveals the presence of feedlots in both vicinities.

The bottom line

As soon as Thomson onions were identified by CDC and FDA as the probable source of the Salmonella Newport outbreak, the company shut down its harvesting and packing operations.

By the time FDA investigators arrived on the scene, there were no field or packing activities for them to observe. The investigators were able to carry out extensive sampling of the equipment surfaces, the environment, and the stored onions, but were unable see either the harvest or packing operations in action.

Although neither FDA nor the Canadian Food Inspection Agency were able to find the outbreak strain in any of the onion samples, all of the epidemiological evidence from both the CDC and the PHAC points to Thomson’s red onions as the source of the outbreak,

The presence of multiple Salmonella-positive environmental samples lends weight to this conclusion, although the actual source of the contamination likely will never be known.