Recalls and Alerts: January 14 – 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.

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? Go to TAINTED to download the first couple of chapters of my new book.

United States

Consent Decree: The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington entered a consent decree between the FDA and Valley Processing, Inc. of Sunnyside, Washington, along with the company’s owner and president, Mary Ann Bliesner, to stop distributing adulterated juice products until the company complies with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and other requirements listed in the consent decree. In a complaint filed on behalf of the FDA on Nov. 6, 2020, the agency stated that Valley Processing, Inc.’s juice products contained inorganic arsenic and patulin toxins at levels that can pose health risks to consumers. In addition, during an inspection by the FDA, investigators observed that the defendants processed juice under grossly insanitary conditions and failed to adhere to relevant food safety standards.

Allergy Alert: FSIS alerts the public to the presence of undeclared allergens in three brands of beef jerky products. Please refer to the FSIS alert for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Nestlé Prepared Foods recalls Nestlé HOT POCKETS BRAND SANDWICHES: PREMIUM PEPPERONI MADE WITH PORK, CHICKEN & BEEF PIZZA GARLIC BUTTERY CRUST (54-oz 12-pack; Lot codes 0318544624, 0319544614, 0320544614, and 0321544614; Best before FEB 2022) due to possible foreign matter (pieces of glass and hard plastic) contamination.

Food Safety Recall: Lake Champlain Chocolates recalls select LCC milk chocolate products from a determined best-by date range due to potential foreign matter (brittle plastic pieces) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Canada

Allergy Alert: Farm Boy Company Inc. recalls Farm Boy brand Marinated Teriyaki Chicken (450g; Best Before 20210128; UPC 8 08912 01858 4) due to undeclared milk.

Allergy Alert: Industry recalls Wang Korea brand sweet rice pancake products due to undeclared egg. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Allergy Alert Update: Dolson Marketing Inc. recalls Chocolate Non-Dairy Whip Topping (1 kg; UPC 6 953942 240178; All codes where “non-dairy” is declared on the label) and Orange Non-Dairy Whip Topping (1 kg; UPC 6 953942 240093; All codes where milk is not declared on the label) due to undeclared milk.

Allergy Alert: Hwa Joo Dang Enterprises Ltd. recalls HJD brand Sprouted Multi Grain (1.82 kg; UPC 6 27843 08862 2; All codes where “gluten free” is declared on the label) due to undeclared barley (gluten).

Allergy Alert: 2007064 Ontario Inc. (O/A Kokkadens) recalls Kokkadens Cakes & Bakes brand Dates & Walnut Cake (400g; UPC 9 780201 591279; All packages where egg is not declared on the label) and Kokkadens Cakes & Bakes brand Carrot & Dates Cake (400g; UPC 9 780201 379624; All packages where egg is not declared on the label) due to undeclared egg.

Food Safety Recall: Harvest Meats recalls Harvest brand Polish Sausages (675g; BEST BEFORE 2021MR15; UPC 0 57393 70017 8) due to undercooking.

Food Safety Recall: Le marché d’Emma recalls various products packed in glass jars due to improper production and packing that could render the products unsafe to consume. Please refer to the recall notice for a list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Just Pressed recalls various soups that are not labeled with the mandatory “keep refrigerated” instruction. Please refer to the recall notice for a list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: La Fabrique à saucisse recalls Peperette sausages (spicy and mild) due to improper production and packing that could render the products unsafe to consume. Please refer to the recall notice for details on the affected products.

Europe

Allergy Alert (Belgium): Industry recalls Ciloglu brand Findikli Dut Pestili / Dried fruit and nut confectionery (300g; Lot #8697436552788; Expiration date 12.02.2021 – 20.04.21 – 01.07.21 – 14.08.21 – 07.10.21 – 07.11.21) due to undeclared peanuts.

Allergy Alert (France): Auchan recalls Auchan Bio brand Sucre de fleur de coco / Coconut blossom sugar (250g; Lot #51080; Expiration date 17/10/2021) due to undeclared sulphites.

Allergy Alert (Italy): Taz Group SrL recalls Arachidi al Wasabi / Wasabi peanuts (50g; Lots 0261, 0291, 0321, 0351; Best before 01/04/2021, 01/05/2021, 01/06/2021) due to undeclared mustard.

Allergy Alert (UK): Caterers Choice Ltd recalls two Pasta Del Vallo products due to undeclared soy. Please refer to the recall notice for complete details on the affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Austria): Milupa recalls various Milupa Kindermüsli Früchte / Milupa Kindermüsli Bircher / Milupa Kinder-Porridge Hafer & Früchte baby cereals due to a choking hazard (pieces of apple stalks). Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Finland): Kieku Oy recalls Kieku, Pirkka and Kotimaista brand LK-free L4 eggs (Lots #002 & #004; Best before 5.2 and 12.2, respectively; Producer code 2FI15464) due to potential Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Milupa recalls certain Milupa brand baby cereals due to a choking hazard (pieces of apple stalks). Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Ireland): Nutricia recalls Cow & Gate and Aptamil Muesli products due to a choking hazard (some packs have been found to contain pieces of apple stalks). Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Ireland): Tesco Ireland recalls Tesco Finest Taleggio PDO Italian Cheese ((200g; Use by 25 January 2021; Product of Italy) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): Agricola Tre Valli Soc. Coop recalls KEBAB DI POLLO CONAD (350g; Lot #8574274; Best before 22-01-2021) due to foreign matter (plastic pieces) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): Agricola Tre Valli Soc. Coop recalls AIA brand KES’S KEBAB DI POLLO (350g; Lot #8574274; Best before 22-01-2021) due to foreign matter (plastic pieces) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Italy): Arc en Ciel Soc. Agr. Coop recalls CARREFOUR BIO brand Sugo alle verdure biologico / Organic vegetable sauce (350g; Best before 26.10.2022) due to foreign matter (glass particles) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (UK): Tesco recalls Tesco Finest Taleggio (200g; Use by 25 January 2021) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (UK): Nutricia recalls Cow & Gate and Aptamil Muesli products due to a choking hazard (some packs have been found to contain pieces of apple stalks). Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Pet Food Safety Recall (Austria): Mars Austria recalls PEDIGREE Adult with Chicken & Vegetables dry dog ​​food (15kg & 3kg; various Best before dates) due to high levels of vitamin D. Please refer to the recall notice for specifics on lot codes and Best Before dates.

Pet Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Mars Belgium recalls several dog food products due to high levels of Vitamin D. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Pet Food Safety Recall (UK): Mars Petcare UK recalls several dog food products due to high levels of Vitamin D. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Why Recalls Happen: Sunshine Mills, Inc., Part 3


Recalls don’t just happen.

Whether bacterial, chemical, a natural toxin or an undeclared allergen, there is always a triggering event.

In the case of Sunshine Mills, Inc., the trigger was a pair of abnormal findings reported by two different states.

Georgia

On August 4, 2020, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) reported having recovered Salmonella in a sample of Nature’s Menu Super Premium Dog Food brand Natural Dog food with A Blend of Real Chicken & Quail (3-lb bags; Lot code TE2 22 APRIL 2020).

The GDA carries out routine retail-level sampling of pet foods for Salmonella and other pathogens. The Salmonella-positive sample was part of this routine testing program.

On August 12th, Georgia notified Sunshine Mills of the Salmonella-positive result.

Sunshine recalled the offending product on August 24, 2020.

Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) also performs routine retail surveillance sampling of commercial feeds, including pet foods.

According to a spokesperson for the LDAF, the state analyzes more than 2,000 such products annually, testing for protein, fat, fiber, moisture and minerals. In addition, depending on the products and the time of year, some samples may be tested for one or more of: mycotoxins (including but not limited to Aflatoxin, Fumonisin, and Vomitoxin), toxic heavy metals (i.e. Mercury, Cadmium, Chromium, Arsenic and Lead), Acid and Neutral Detergent Fiber, Total Digestible Fiber, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, coliforms, antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides.

On August 17, 2020, the LDAF detected aflatoxin in a sample of Family Pet Meaty Cuts Beef Chicken & Cheese Flavors Premium Dog Food, manufactured by Sunshine Mills for Midwood Brands LLC. The product was sold in Family Dollar stores.

The level of aflatoxin in the dry dog food was four times the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) action level for pet foods.

Upon finding the positive test results, the LDAF contacted the company to request a recall, and also placed a “stop sale” order on the product.

Sunshine Mills recalled the offending product on September 2nd, along with two other brands of dry dog food with similar formulations.

FDA steps in

Both the August recall due to Salmonella and the September recall due to elevated alfatoxin levels were announced on the FDA’s recall page.

On September 8, 2020, an FDA inspector presented a Notice of Inspection to Philip V. Bates, Chief Operating Officer of Sunshine’s Tupelo manufacturing plant. The inspection would continue, off and on, until October 27, 2020.

The FDA has declined to state (in response to a direct question from eFoodAlert) whether this inspection was triggered by the Salmonella contamination or by the alfatoxin finding. However, the timing of the inspection suggests that Louisiana’s detection of elevated aflatoxin in a dog food sample was the catalyst.

Once on the scene, the FDA inspector investigated both contamination issues, reporting on numerous deficiences, summarized in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

Questions left unanswered

Who notified the FDA?

Companies are required to notify the FDA within 24 hours “when there is a reasonable probability that an article of human food or animal food/feed (including pet food) will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.”

In 2018, when this same manufacturing plant learned that some of its pet foods contained elevated levels of Vitamin D, company management neglected to inform report this finding to the agency’s Reportable Food Registry within the mandatory 24 hour period. On that occasion, six days elapsed between the time Sunshine had confirmed the problem and the time the company’s management notified the FDA.

The FDA has declined to respond to eFoodAlert’s question as to whether the company or the state agencies notified FDA of the Salmonella and aflatoxin problems.

How much aflatoxin was in the contaminated corn ingredient?

Sunshine’s lab technician tested a sample of bulk yellow corn on April 3, 2020 and accepted that load of corn, even though the level of aflatoxin in the corn exceeded the company’s own rejection level.

We do not know how much aflatoxin was in the corn. That is considered by the FDA to be Confidential Commercial Information (CCI).

We do not know what Sunshine’s rejection level is for aflatoxin. This, too, is considered by the FDA to be CCI, and was redacted from the report that was supplied in response to eFoodAlert’s Freedom of Information Act request. It is likely, though, that Sunshine would have set a rejection level that matches the FDA’s 20 parts per billion (ppb) action level for aflatoxin in pet foods and pet food ingredients.

How much did Sunshine know and when did they know it?

At some point after the company had distributed pet foods containing the contaminated corn, the company found elevated aflatoxin levels in samples of three product formulas, specifically:

  • Savory Beef, Chicken, Cheese 18%
  • Complete Nutrition 21-10
  • TSC Bites & Bones

The Savory Beef, Chicken, Cheese formula was covered in the initial aflatoxin recall dated September 2, 2020.

The remaining two formulations were included in the expanded recall dated October 8, 2020.

According to the lot code information contained in the recall notices, all of the recalled products were manufactured during April 3–5, 2020.

The FDA has declined to reveal either the date (or dates) on which Sunshine performed aflatoxin tests on these products, or the level of aflatoxin found in the three product formulas, citing—you guessed it—Confidential Commercial Information.

What next for Sunshine Mills?

On June 25, 2019, the FDA issued a formal Warning Letter to Sunshine Mills, Inc., listing multiple violations that led to the presence of excessive vitamin D in its pet foods, and expressing dissatisfaction with the company’s corrective actions.

Despite the Warning Letter, the first item cited in this summer’s investigation was a repeat observation from the previous inspection. Specifically, the company “did not identify and implement preventive controls to ensure that any hazards requiring a preventive control are significantly minimized or prevented.”

The FDA inspector’s report also makes clear that the company’s corrective actions in response to both the Salmonella and the aflatoxin contamination issues were inadequate.

What are the consequences for a repeat offender? Will there be another Warning Letter? Another slap on the wrist?

Or will the Food and Drug Administration take more drastic action?

Stay tuned for developments.

Recalls and Alerts: January 10 – 13, 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.

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? Go to TAINTED to download the first couple of chapters of my new book.

United States

OUTBREAK ALERT: FDA has opened an investigation into an outbreak of Salmonella Miami, associated with an unknown food. Forty-eight outbreak cases have been reported so far.

Pet Food Recall and Pet Health Alert: Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. expands its earlier recall of pet food to include to include more than 1000 production lots of dog and cat pet food products made with corn products and manufactured in the company’s Chickasha Operations Facility, because those products may contain aflatoxin levels which exceed acceptable limits. At least 70 pets have died and an additional 80 or more have fallen ill after consuming certain of these products. Please refer to the recall notice for details on how to identify the recalled products. Additional information also is available in eFoodAlert’s Breaking News story, posted on January 11, 2021.

Food Safety Recall: Weis Markets recalls Weis Quality Cookies and Cream Ice Cream (48 oz; Sell by 10/28/21; UPC 041497-01253) and Klein’s Vanilla Dairy Ice Cream (3 gal; Code stamp 0302) due to possible foreign matter (metal filling equipment parts) contamination.

Food Safety Recall: EVR Foods, INC recalls Lavva brand Blueberry Plant-Based Yogurt (5.3 oz; Expiration date 2/21/21) due to potential mold contamination.

Canada

Food Safety Recall: Piller’s Fine Foods recalls Piller’s brand Oven Roasted Turkey Breast (375g; Best Before 2021 JA 27; EST 550; UPC 0 69401 07546 8) due to foreign matter (pieces of plastic) contamination.

Europe

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Dufrais recalls Dufrais brand Boulettes rôtie maison / Homemade roassted meatballs (100-120g/piece; Lots 090 1010 007, 090 1010 008, 090 1010 009; Use by 12/01/2021) due to possible foreign matter (pieces of glass) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Carrefour recalls Carrefour brand Riz basmati / Basmati rice (1kg bag; Lot code / Best before date 01/07/2022) due to mycotoxin (ochratoxin A) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Iceland): Kólus ehf recalls Sambo brand Risa Þristur – lakkrís- og súkkulaðistangir með karamellufyllingu / licorice and chocolate bars with caramel filling (50g; Lots L350 & L357; Best before 16.11.21 & 08.01.22) due to a packaging defect.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

Allergy Alert (Israel): Meitav (G. SH.) Food Industries Limited Partnership alerts the public to the presence of undeclared egg in four flavoured syrup products. Please refer to the notice for a list of affected products. The company points out that the products are safe for consumers who do not have sensitivity to egg.

Australia and New Zealand

Food Safety Recall (Australia): Woolworths recalls Woolworths Coleslaw (110g, 250g, 400g & 800g; All Use By dates from 12 Jan up to and including 21 Jan) due to potential Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Australia): Bellarine Smokehouse recalls Smoked Barramundi Pâté and Smoked Salmon Pâté (150g; Use By 050221 & 060221) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.