Recalls and Alerts: December 21, 2012


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.

United States

  • Food Safety Recall: S&M International Inc. (Bayonne, NJ) recalls Yang Sheng cooked salted duck eggs (6 eggs/12.69-oz vacuum-pkg; UPC 6949682803568; Lot code YS12-02C), because the product was not processed in a manner to prevent growth of Clostridium botulinum. The recalled eggs were distributed between August to October 2012 to stores and markets located in New York City area, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Michigan.
  • Food Safety Recall/Allergy Alert: Bi-Lo advises its customers that the manufacturer has recalled Vanilla Cake Roll with Strawberry Filling (8 oz; UPC 0-10374-49983; Item code 638796; Produced from 7/26/2012 through 10/27/2012), due to ingredient mislabelling.
  • Dietary Supplement Safety Recall: P&J Trading recalls Slimdia Revolution Dietary Supplement (30 capsules/bottle; All lots), because the product contains the prescription drug sibutramine, an appetite suppressant, which is not declared on the label. The recalled product was distributed nationwide in US from March 2012 to December 2012.
  • FDA Enforcement Action: FDA announces that a Federal judge has signed a consent decree imposing requirements on Sunland Inc. The consent decree requires that Sunland retain an independent sanitation expert to develop a sanitation control program that the company must then implement. The requirements also include compliance with the cGMP regulations. In addition, for the peanut butter plant, the company must conduct environmental monitoring and testing to ensure that disease-causing organisms are not present in the facility or in its finished foods and must have comprehensive inspections conducted by an independent sanitation expert. The consent decree permits Sunland to receive, hold, and distribute raw, unshelled peanuts from its storage buildings because the raw, unshelled peanuts are bound for processing facilities that include a “kill step” to eliminate Salmonella and other pathogenic bacteria. Peanut butter products manufactured by Sunland were linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney that sickened 42 people in 20 states.

Canada

Europe

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

  • Food Safety Alert (Hong Kong): The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) reminds the public not to consume puffer fish. The alert was released after CHP received a report of a suspected poisoning associated with consumption of this fish.

Some supermarket chains post recall notices on their web sites for the convenience of customers. To see whether a recalled food was carried by your favorite supermarket, follow the live link to the supermarket’s recall web site.

*The Kroger umbrella encompasses numerous supermarket, marketplace and convenience store chains, listed on the Kroger corporate home page.
**Includes Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs and Pak N’ Save.

Recalls and Alerts: November 30, 2012


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.

For current information on international and retail distribution of peanut butter products recalled due to Salmonella Bredeney, please consult the Trader Joe’s/Sunland Peanut Butter Recalls tab.

United States

  • Allergy Alert: Tri City Cheese and Meats (Kawkawlin, MI) recalls Troll Smokehouse Fully Cooked Jalapeño Vienna sausage products ( 1- and 2.5-lb Cryovac bags; Est 32015; Sell by 12/17/12 through 01/03/13), because they contain undeclared monosodium glutamate (MSG). The recalled product was distributed to retail establishments in Michigan.
  • Food Safety Recall: Veggie Patch recalls Veggie Patch Ultimate Meatless Burgers (9 oz; UPC 61012900211; Sell by date January 12, 2013), because of possible contamination by Listeria monocytogenes. The recalled product was sold at Stop & Shop, Giant Food Stores, Martin’s, and Giant of Maryland stores.
  • Food Safety Recall: Food City advises its customers that Hillshire Lil Smokies (12-14 oz) have been recalled. No additional information was provided by the retailer.
  • Outbreak Alert Final Update: CDC reports that the Salmonella Bredeney outbreak associated with contaminated peanut butter manufactured by Sunland, Inc. (Portales, NM) appears to be over. In total, 42 people were infected with the outbreak strain in 20 states. Ten people were hospitalized. FDA has suspended the company’s food facility registration, prohibiting Sunland from introducing food into commerce in the USA.

Canada

  • Allergy Alert: Pure Indulgent Foods Inc. recalls Flats by Pure Apricot Pecan Unique Savory Baked Crackers (170g; Code 5/30 13; UPC 8 73376 00303 2), because the product contains undeclared sulphites. The recalled product was sold through retailers in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.
  • Food Safety Recall: ERAA Supermarket Inc. recalls ERAA Jaggery Lump Brown Sugar (900g; Batch 06/12; Best before AUG 2013; UPC 8 901792 100911 and 8 901792 101321), due to contamination with unspecified extraneous material. The recalled product was sold through retailers in Ontario.

Europe

  • Allergy Alert (Ireland): Food Safety Authority of Ireland warns consumers that Kupiec corn flour “gluten free” (400g; Product of Poland; Batch B184 PL; Best before 31/01/2013) was found to contain undeclared gluten. The product, which is known in Polish as Maka Kukurydziana, has been sold in stores across Ireland, mainly those selling Eastern European foods.
  • Food Safety Recall (France): SARL Fontanilles recalls Charcuterie Fontanilles brand of meat-based canned deli products (Expiry 2016), due to lack of product stability. The recalled products were sold in the département of Tarn after May 23, 2012. Please refer to the recall notice for a list of retailers that carried the recalled products.
  • Food Safety Recall (Switzerland): La fromagerie Moléson recalls Le Capriglânois soft curd goat cheese, made from raw milk (80g; Lot # L224703 / L224935 / L225166 / L225436 / L226154; Expiry dates 6.12.2012 / 7.12.2012 / 10.12.2012 / 11.12.2012 / 14.12.2012), after Listeria monocytogenes was found in the product.
  • Outbreak Alert Update (Norway): The number of illnesses due to Salmonella Mikawasima has risen to 12 cases in nine counties, including Oslo (1 patient) Akershus (1), Vestfold (1), Aust-Agder (1), Vest-Agder (3) Telemark (1), Oppland (1 ), Hordaland (2) and Nordland (1). All of the affected individuals are adults, most of them aged 20 – 50 years. Norway’s Public Health Institute is continuing its investigation into the source of the outbreak.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.1658): Listeria monocytogenes in gorgonzola and mascarpone cheese cake from Italy; distributed to Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.1659): Sulfathiazole and sulfadimidine in forest honey from Poland; distributed to Slovakia.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.1660): Mercury in frozen slices of swordfish from Spain; distributed to Italy.
  • Food Safety Notification (EU #2012.1661): Mercury in frozen sword fish from Spain; distributed to Germany and Italy.

Australia and New Zealand

  • Food Safety Recall (Australia): Delin (Australia) Trading Pty Ltd. recalls Favor Swallow Bean Sauce (350g glass jar; Best before 18/09/14; Product of China) due to contamination with Bacillus cereus. The recalled product was sold in some Asian supermarkets in Victoria only.
  • Outbreak Alert (New Zealand): The New Zealand Herald reports that a ward has been closed at Hawke’s Bay Hospital due to an outbreak of vomiting and diarrhea among staff and patients. Visitors have been urged to stay away.

Some supermarket chains post recall notices on their web sites for the convenience of customers. To see whether a recalled food was carried by your favorite supermarket, follow the live link to the supermarket’s recall web site.

*The Kroger umbrella encompasses numerous supermarket, marketplace and convenience store chains, listed on the Kroger corporate home page.
**Includes Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs and Pak N’ Save.

FDA Suspends Sunland’s Food Facility Registration


The agency’s action, taken under authority conferred on FDA by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), follows on the heels of a determination that “…food manufactured, processed, packed, received, or held by [the] facility has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, and that [the] facility created, caused, or was otherwise responsible for such reasonable probability.”

Peanut butter manufactured in Sunland, Inc.’s Portales, New Mexico facility was responsible for at least 41 cases of Salmonella Bredeney infections in 20 US states, according to CDC’s most recent update, published on November 8th. Ten of the 41 outbreak victims were hospitalized.

In announcing this first ever use of FDA’s suspension powers under FSMA, the agency released the following statement:

In the interest of protecting public health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suspended the food facility registration of Sunland Inc., a producer of nuts, and nut and seed spreads.  Registration with the FDA is required for any facility that manufactures, processes, packs, or holds food for consumption in the United States.  If a facility’s registration is suspended, that facility is prohibited from introducing food into interstate or intrastate commerce.

The fact that peanut butter made by the company has been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney that has sickened 41 people in 20 states, coupled with Sunland’s history of violations led FDA to make the decision to suspend the company’s registration.  

This was the FDA’s first use of its registration suspension authority, under the Food Safety Modernization Act. This new authority enables the agency to take this action when food manufactured, processed, packed, received, or held by a facility has a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, and other conditions are met.

A review of Sunland Inc.’s product testing records showed that 11 product lots of nut butter showed the presence of Salmonella between June 2009 and September 2012.  Between March 2010 and September 2012, at least a portion of 8 product lots of nut butter that Sunland Inc.’s own testing program identified as containing Salmonella was distributed by the company to consumers.    

Additionally, during its inspection of the plant in September and October 2012, the FDA found the presence of Salmonella in 28 environmental samples (from surfaces in production or manufacturing areas) and in 13 nut butter product samples and one product sample of raw peanuts.  Four of the peanut butter product samples showed the presence of the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney.   

The suspension order offers Sunland, Inc. the opportunity to request an informal hearing on certain issues related to the order.  If, after providing this opportunity, the FDA determines that the suspension remains necessary, the FDA will require Sunland, Inc. to submit a corrective action plan to address the immediate problems and to implement a sustainable solution to those problems in a sound scientific manner.  The FDA will reinstate Sunland, Inc.’s registration only when FDA determines that the company has implemented procedures to produce safe products.

In its letter of notification to Sunland’s President, FDA referred to a number of conditions and company actions that formed the basis for its decision, including:

  • Investigation by CDC and FDA of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney led to a determination that Trader Joe’s™ brand Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with Sea Salt was the likely source of the outbreak;
  • Sunland was the sold manufacturer of the implicated peanut butter;
  • Evidence collected by FDA in response to the outbreak, including the company’s own testing records, environmental and finished product samples analyzed by FDA and observations made during FDA’s inspection of the facility established that nut butter and nut products manufactured, processed, packed and held by Sunland are contaminated with Salmonella or are at risk of contamination with Salmonella;
  • Sunland’s own testing records revealed that third party testing identified the presence of Salmonella spp. in at least 40 finished products from 11 finished product lots and eight sets of environmental samples between June 2009 and September 2012; and
  • Sunland distributed at least a portion of eight lots of peanut and almond butter between March 1, 2010 and September 2012 after composite testing revealed the presence of Salmonella.

The complete text of the letter can be found on FDA’s website.

Sunland’s quality assurance philosophy clearly was “keep testing until we get a Salmonella-negative result; then ship the product.” This is an approach that has been adopted all too frequently in the food industry. I have encountered it in Canada; I have encountered it in the US. It is ethically incorrect. It is scientifically incorrect.

In a word, it is WRONG.