March 19, 2019

FDA Strengthens Process For Issuing Recall Warnings

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking steps to strengthen the process they use for issuing a public warning about food recalls and notification of recalls. While most companies collaborate with the FDA when a problem, whether it's an undeclared allergen, foreign material in a product, or contamination with a pathogen, the agency sometimes need to provide advice to protect consumers. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the FDA, says the agency has finalized the mandatory recall guidance for foods. While most companies do cooperate with the government when a problem arises, some cases will not voluntarily issue a recall. FDA was given mandatory recall authority in some cases by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. The agency has used this power just once, when … [Read more...]

U.S. PIRG: Hazardous Meat and Poultry Recalls Nearly Double in 2018

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state PIRGs (public interest research groups), has found that the recalls of potentially hazardous meat and poultry recalls nearly doubled from 2013 to 2018. Their report, How Safe Is Our Food? During that time frame, while there has been a 10% increase in overall recalls, there was a 70% increase in chicken recalls, and an 83% increase in Class 1 meat and poultry recalls, which are those likely to cause serious illness or death. Some of these recalls may be because of better identification of pathogens in food, and new technology such as whole genome sequencing. The U.S. PIRG also says that the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 has also increased food recalls. Adam Garber, U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog said in a statement, "The food we nourish … [Read more...]

FDA Will Start Listing Retail Distribution Lists For Some Recalled Foods

According to FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA is going to disclose retailer distribution information for some types of food recalls. The USDA already provides this information. When a recall is initiated, the FDA works with companies to publicize information such as labeling, product descriptions, lot numbers, and UPC numbers, as well as photographs and some geographic info. Since supply chain information is confidential between the supplier and the retailer, the FDA has not traditionally released lists of stores where these products may have been sold. The agency also believed that, with the information they do release, consumers have enough information to either not purchase recalled foods, or to get rid of these foods when a recall is issued. But there are some … [Read more...]

Trends in Food Recalls Finds Recalls Increased Significantly Between 2004 and 2013

The USDA and FDA have issued a report on food recall trends from 2004 to 2013. In it, they find that recalls increased significantly in that time period. The report, titled "Trends in Food Recalls: 2004-2013" was published in April 2018. Between 2004 and 2008, food recalls in the United States averaged 304 a year. Between 2009 and 2013, the annual average increased to 676 recalls. The volume of food sold in the United States during the latter time period partially explains the statistically significant increase, but other factors are involved too. During the 2009 to 2013 time frame, pathogen and risk detection technology improved substantially. In addition, regulatory oversight and enforcement increased. Finally, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Food … [Read more...]

Multiple Grocery Stores Update Secondary Listeria Monocytogenes Recalls for Produce

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration reports that several grocery stores that issued secondary recalls of produce products last week have either updated or revised their lists of the items subject to recall. These recalls were prompted by the large-scale recall by Salinas, CA-based Mann’s Packing of thousands of pounds of minimally processed vegetables they distributed across the United States and Canada. This original recall was announced after the Canadian Inspection Service revealed it had found a single positive result of Listeria monocytogenes contamination during a random sampling of Mann Packing’s Produce. Listeria is a very serious variety of food poisoning that is particularly dangerous to pregnant women and their unborn children – it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or … [Read more...]

Secondary Listeria Monocytogenes Recalls for Produce, Salads, and Herbs

Mann's Packing recalled minimally processed vegetable products for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination on October 19, 2017. A single positive result was found during random sampling in Canada. There is zero tolerance for the presence of this bacteria in the United States on ready-to-eat foods. Since then, there have been a slew of secondary recalls for products made with those vegetables. We are keeping an ongoing list of recalls so you can see them all in one place. These products should not be eaten, even if you intend to cook them. Listeria bacteria that may be on this produce can contaminate work surfaces and utensils in the kitchen, possibly cross-contaminating them and causing illness. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with these recalls, but … [Read more...]

Undeclared Nuts Prompt Recalls of Aunt Beth’s Cookies and Wegmans’ Bulk Nut Crunch

In two separate recalls, the possible presence of undeclared nuts in food products have prompted their removal from store shelves. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reports that both Aunt Beth’s Cookies (located in Mishawaka, Indiana) and First Source (headquartered in Tonawanda, New York) have issued these voluntary recalls. Aunt Beth’s Cookies recalled nine (9) varieties of cookies after it was ascertained the cookies might have been contaminated by peanuts or tree nuts during the manufacturing process; the potential presence of the nut allergens was not listed on the product labeling. These cookies were distributed through wholesalers in the states of Indiana and Illinois. Sold between January 1, 2017 and September 28, 2017, the varieties of cookies affected by the recall … [Read more...]

Reser’s Macaroni Salad Recalled for Undeclared Allergens

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has alerted consumers that Reser’s Fine Foods, Inc., headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, has issued a voluntary recall for 529 cases of its 16-ounce “Reser’s Macaroni Salad.” These products contain two allergens, milk and soy, which are not listed on the packages’ labelling. For those who are allergic to these allergens, consuming this macaroni salad may result in serious illness or a potentially fatal allergic reaction. The 16-ounce plastic containers of the affected product are stamped with a “Use By” Date of April 24, 2017 on the edge of the lid. The UPC number, located on the side panel of the package, is: 71117.19007. The cases of macaroni salad were sent to grocery retailers and distributors in the states of  Alabama, Colorado, … [Read more...]

Cookie Dough Maker Gets Listeria Warning Letter

The FDA has sent the owners of Aspen Hills, Inc., makers of ready to eat cookie dough, a warning letter on January 10, 2017 about environmental samples from their facility that tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. There is zero tolerance for that pathogenic bacteria in ready to eat products. That means that the cookie dough pucks, pellets, and pails are adulterated within the meaning of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Four positive environmental swabs were collected in the manufacturing areas. And between September 18 and 26, 2016, the firm's environmental program found Listeria monocytogenes in ten environmental swabs and in one finished product lot of cookie dough, which was not distributed into commerce. These findings indicate that the "firm is not taking … [Read more...]

Top 10 Largest Multistate Outbreaks in 2016: Number 10

Every year we gather information about the largest food poisoning outbreaks of the last 12 months. There were many outbreaks this year; some sickened hundreds of people. The largest outbreaks were confined to one state. The outbreaks in this list crossed state lines. The tenth largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2016 was a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to frozen vegetables. At least 9 people in 4 states were sickened in this particular outbreak. All of those sickened were hospitalized, and three people died, although the listeriosis illness was considered a factor in only one of those deaths. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence found that frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington and sold under different brand names were the likely … [Read more...]

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