Saturday, December 5, 2009

Slim Fast Ready to Drink Recall all Cans

Unilever Conducts Nationwide Voluntary Recall of Slim-Fast® Ready-to-Drink Products in Cans Due to Possible Health Risk
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Englewood Cliffs, NJ, December 3, 2009 - Unilever United States, Inc., in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is conducting a nationwide voluntary recall of all Slim-Fast® ready-to-drink (RTD) products in cans, due to the possibility of contamination with Bacillus cereus, a micro-organism, which may cause diarrhea and possibly nausea and/or vomiting. The probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote....More....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

21 Sickened to Date!!! Diamond Pet Foods Recall Premium Edge Cat Food

On September 23, Diamond Pet Foods issued a voluntary recall for Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat and Premium Edge Hairball cat because they have the potential to produce Thiamine Deficiency. Today’s announcement provides additional information from the company’s posted announcement of September 23 when the initial recall information was provided.

Thiamine is essential for cats. Symptoms of deficiency displayed by an affected cat can be gastrointestinal or neurological in nature. At the first stage the cat may show decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting, and weight loss. Later, neurologic signs can develop, which may include ventriflexion (bending towards the floor) of the neck, wobbly walking, circling, falling, and seizures. These ultimately may result in the death of the animal if left untreated. If your cat has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

The affected products were distributed in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida.

The affected date codes were RAF0501A22X 18lb. (BB28NOV10), RAF0501A2X 6 lb. (BB28NOV10), RAF0802B12X 18lb (BB30FEB11), RAH0501A22X 18 lb. (BB28NOV10), RAH0501A2X 6lb. (BB28NOV10, BB30NOV10, BB08DEC10) More....

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's Beef AGAIN 546,000 Pounds Recalled

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Two deaths and 26 other illnesses may be linked to fresh ground beef that has been recalled because it might be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, a federal health official said Monday.

One of the deaths involved a New York adult with several underlying health conditions, said Lola Scott Russell, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The other is a death previously reported by New Hampshire, where state health officials said a patient died due to complications.

Russell said all but three of the suspected infections are in the northeastern U.S. and 18 are in New England.

Ashville, N.Y.-based Fairbank Farms recalled almost 546,000 pounds of fresh ground beef that had been distributed in September to stores from North Carolina to Maine. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's recall notice, dated Saturday, said that the possibly tainted meat had been sold in numerous ways, from meatloaf and meatball mix to hamburger patties.

Some of the ground beef was sold at Trader Joe's, Price Chopper, Lancaster, Wild Harvest, Shaw's, BJ's, Ford Brothers and Giant stores in packages that carried the number "EST. 492" on the label. Those products were packaged Sept. 15-16 and may have been labeled with a sell-by date from Sept. 19 through Sept. 28, meaning they're no longer being sold as fresh product in supermarkets, Fairbank Farms said.

The rest of the ground beef, packaged in wholesale-sized containers under the Fairbank Farms name, was distributed to stores in Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. That meat was likely repackaged for sale and would likely have differing package and sell-by dates.

The USDA was urging customers with concerns to contact the stores where they bought the meat.

Fairbank's CEO, Ron Allen, urged consumers to check their freezers for the recalled ground beef.

Located in the southwestern corner of New York a few miles from the Pennsylvania line, Fairbank Farms has had two other voluntary recalls over the last two years, according to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

In September 2007, the company recalled 884 pounds of ground beef products because they may have been contaminated with E. coli, the agency said. And in May 2008, it recalled 22,481 pounds of ground beef products that may have contained pieces of plastic.

Symptoms of E. coli infections include stomach cramps that may be severe and diarrhea that may turn bloody within one to three days. E. coli infections can sometimes lead to complications including kidney failure.

Symptoms usually show up three to four days after a person eats contaminated food, although in some cases it can be as long as eight days. Officials said anyone having symptoms should immediately contact a doctor.

Russell, the CDC spokeswoman, said the E. coli strain involved in the recall, 0157:H7, infects about 70,000 Americans a year and kills 52.

First Posting:
ASHVILLE, N.Y. (Nov. 2) - A New York meat company has recalled almost 546,000 pounds of ground beef because, according to health officials, contaminated meat has caused illness and one death. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Saturday the meat sold by Ashville, N.Y.-based Fairbank Farms was linked to cases of E. coli-related illness in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts. New Hampshire health officials say one person died and two others became ill. The federal agency says the ground beef
was sold at numerous retail stores. Each package carried the number “EST. 492” on the label.
In addition, ground beef packaged under the Fairbank Farms name was distributed to stores in Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and was likely repackaged for sale....more

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Recall of Premium Edge Cat Food- Thiamine Deficiency

October 20, 2009

FDA is providing the following information from Premium Edge Pet Foods to alert pet owners of a voluntary recall of certain cat foods manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods for Premium Edge. The affected brands were found to contain an inadequate level of thiamine, which may cause clinical signs of thiamine deficiency in cats eating this food. FDA is working on this situation and will provide additional information as it becomes available. If your veterinarian diagnoses that your cat has become ill from consuming the affected pet food, please ask your veterinarian to file a report with FDA.

Diamond Pet Foods has issued a voluntary recall on the following date codes of Premium Edge Finicky Adult cat food and Premium Edge Hairball cat food: RAF0501A22X 18 lb., RAF0501A2X 6 lb., RAH0501A22X 18 lb., RAH0501A2X 6 lb. The date of manufacture is May 28, 2009. All retail outlets shipped the above lots were contacted, asking them to pull the product from the store shelves. The retailers were also asked to contact their customers via email or telephone requesting them to check the date code of the food. However, if you or anyone you know has these date codes of Premium Edge cat food, please return them to your retailer.

Symptoms displayed by an affected cat will be neurological in nature. Symptoms may include wobbly walking or muscle weakness, paralysis of the hindlimbs, seizures, ventroflexion (bending towards the floor) of the neck, and abnormal eye movement called nystagmus. Any cats fed these date codes that display these symptoms should be immediately taken to a veterinarian....More

To contact Premium Edge Pet Foods, please call 800-977-8797 between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm central time, Monday through Friday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Organic Baby Food Recall Botulism this Month

WASHINGTON (Oct. 20) - Plum Organics of Emeryville, Calif., is recalling some of its apple and carrot portable pouch baby food because of concerns over possible botulism contamination.
The product was sold individually throughout the country at Toys-R-Us and Babies-R-Us stores. The recalled product is sold in 4.22-ounce pouches, with a "best by" date of May 21, 2010, and UPC 890180001221.

Plum Organics apple and carrot portable pouch baby food with a best buy date of May 2110, shown above, and UPC code 890180001221 have been recalled.
The company is concerned that the baby food may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism, a serious and sometimes life-threatening condition. Consumers should not use these products, even if they appear to be normal, because of the possible health risk.
No illnesses have been reported in connection with the baby food, and no other Plum Organics products are affected, the company said in a statement.
More information is available by calling 888-974-3555 or by e-mailing
More from the FDA

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Spinach Recall Announced: Calif. firm recalls spinach after salmonella found

SALINAS, Calif. — A California distributor is recalling two brands of bunched spinach after routine testing detected salmonella.

The California Department of Public Health says Ippolito International, of Salinas, is recalling 1,715 cartons of spinach harvested from Sept. 1-3, and sold to retail, foodservice and wholesale buyers.

The bulk of the cartons were packed under the "Queen Victoria" label and shipped to California, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and British Columbia, Ontario and Manitoba in Canada.

The recall announced Thursday also affects cartons packed under the "Tubby" label and distributed in California and New York.

Consumers with questions or need additional information on where recalled products were sold may contact Ippolito International, LP at 1-831-772-9991.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Windsor Foods, a Riverside, Calif., establishment, is recalling approximately 2,268 pounds of beef and bean burrito products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Each case of Butcher Boy brand burritos, subject to recall, contains a total of 72 burritos and bears the establishment number “EST. 1905″ within the USDA mark of inspection; the package code “1219215;” the case code “2080001;” and advises “KEEP FROZEN.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Green Onions From Mexicali Recalled

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a voluntary recall of iceless green onions grown in the Mexicali Valley.According to the USDA , routine testing of iceless green onions shipped by Steinbeck Country Produce of Salinas , California found a positive result for Salmonella. The onions were farmed and packed by a grower in Mexicali, Baja California , Mexico. To date , no illnesses associated with the green onions have been reported. Steinbeck Country Produce has voluntarily recalling the onions with code numbers 96CPGO07 or 9CPO937 shipped between August 4 and August 22 , 2009. USDA said that vendors who received the product were immediately notified of the recall and were instructed to destroy the product. The onions were distributed in California, Massachusetts , Texas , Indiana , New York, Michigan , Missouri , Kansas and Arizona.....More

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ground Beef Recall Due to Salmonellosis

WASHINGTON, August 6, 2009 - Beef Packers, Inc., a Fresno, Calif., establishment, is recalling approximately 825,769 pounds of ground beef products that may be linked to an outbreak of salmonellosis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today......more

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nationwide Recall Romaine Lettuce

The CNN Wire
July 23rd, 2009
Posted: 08:52 PM ET
(CNN) — A California company has issued a nationwide recall on its romaine lettuce after the lettuce tested positive for salmonella in Wisconsin, according to a statement from the company.

No illnesses have been linked to the lettuce, the statement said.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture conducted a random test on romaine lettuce from Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods, Inc., the company said in a statement, and found the bacteria.

The company has also recalled its romaine lettuce distributed in Puerto Rico and Canada.

The company said it had notified its customers on Tuesday about the recall and told them to “discard any existing product.”

The voluntary recall affects single, whole heads of lettuce with a shelf life of 14 to 16 days after harvest dates from June 25 to July 2, the company said.

“We very much regret the inconvenience that the recall may have caused our consumers and customers,” said company CEO Rick Antle, in the statement. “Food safety and consumer health are our top priorities.” Intial Recall Notice just picked up....more

Friday, July 3, 2009

RECALL: Malt-O-Meal..."Mothers beware"

Malt-O-Meal recalls oatmeal made with dry milk
Malt-O-Meal Co. is voluntarily recalling oatmeal that contains instant nonfat dry milk that may be contaminated with salmonella.
Minneapolis-based Malt-O-Meal is recalling "Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal" sold in cartons and variety packs with best-if-used-by dates of June 30, 2009 to Oct. 28, 2010....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Beef Recall Expanded E-Coli Supsected in 18 Illnesses

U.S. beef recall expanded, 18 illnesses suspected
CHICAGO, June 28 (Reuters) - A Colorado meat company is expanding a recall of beef due to possible contamination by E.coli O157:H7 bacteria after an investigation found 18 illnesses may be linked to the meat, the company and the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Sunday...more
Consumers with questions can call 1-800-685-6328

Friday, June 19, 2009

E.Coli linked to Nestle Cookie Dough Voluntary Recall

FDA Warns Consumers Not to Eat Nestle Toll House Prepackaged, Refrigerated Cookie Dough
Nestle Voluntarily Recalls all Varieties of Prepackaged, Refrigerated Toll House Cookie Dough

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning consumers not to eat any varieties of prepackaged Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough due to the risk of contamination with E. coli O157:H7 (a bacterium that causes food borne illness).

The FDA advises that if consumers have any prepackaged, refrigerated Nestle Toll House cookie dough products in their home that they throw them away. Cooking the dough is not recommended because consumers might get the bacteria on their hands and on other cooking surfaces....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nutro Products Announces Voluntary Recall of Limited Range of Dry Cat Food Products

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Franklin, Tennessee (May 21, 2009) -- Today, Nutro Products announced a voluntary recall of select varieties of NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Dry Cat Foods and NUTRO® MAX® Cat Dry Foods with “Best If Used By Dates” between May 12, 2010 and August 22, 2010. The cat food is being voluntarily recalled in the United States and ten additional countries. This recall is due to incorrect levels of zinc and potassium in our finished product resulting from a production error by a US-based premix supplier....

Friday, May 15, 2009

OMG!! Food Companies Are Placing the Onus for Safety on Consumers

New York Times - International Hearld Tribune
Published: May 14, 2009
The frozen pot pies that sickened an estimated 15,000 people with salmonella in 2007 left federal inspectors mystified. At first they suspected the turkey. Then they considered the peas, carrots and potatoes.

Friday, April 10, 2009

U.S. Makes No Progress Against Food Poisoning

By Jane Zhang & Mike Esterl
The federal government said it didn't make any progress in lowering the rate of food poisoning in the past four years, underscoring the need to plug holes in the nation's food-safety system.
The incidence of human infections caused by salmonella, E. coli and seven other common pathogens changed little from 2004 to 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Fresh produce, in particular, has led to more illnesses and large outbreaks. One salmonella outbreak -- eventually traced to Mexican peppers -- sickened more than 1,400 people last year.
"We recognize that we have reached a plateau in the prevention of foodborne disease, and there must be new efforts to develop and evaluate food-safety practices from the farm to the table," said Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases.
The CDC report will likely add fuel to the debate in Washington over how to improve food regulation, currently handled by a patchwork of federal and state agencies.
David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration's associate commissioner for foods, said the CDC report "underscores the need for change." The FDA needs to conduct more inspections and develop a system to trace contaminants quickly, a process that often takes weeks now, he said.
The FDA has become more aggressive in monitoring food safety, Dr. Acheson said. The FDA recently warned consumers against eating any products containing pistachios after salmonella was found in some pistachio products -- even though no illnesses were confirmed.
The CDC's annual report on foodborne illness uses data from 10 states, along with the CDC, U.S. Department of Agriculture and FDA.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Calif. plant recalls 1M pounds of pistachios

Posted: 07:56 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) — A California food processing plant is voluntarily recalling up to 1 million pounds of roasted pistachio products that may have been contaminated with salmonella, the FDA announced Monday.

The nuts came from Setton Farms in Terra Bella, California — about 75 miles south of Fresno — and were largely distributed in 2,000 pound shipments to food wholesalers who would then package them for resale.

No illnesses have been linked to this case, said Dr. David Acheson, FDA’s associate commissioner. But salmonella strains were found during routine test by Kraft Foods, which purchased pistachios from Setton Farms, he said.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Food Safety Problems Elude Private Inspectors

March 6, 2009
New York Times:
When food industry giants like Kellogg want to ensure that American consumers are being protected from contaminated products, they rely on private inspectors like Eugene A. Hatfield. So last spring Mr. Hatfield headed to the Peanut Corporation of America plant in southwest Georgia to make sure its chopped nuts, paste and peanut butter were safe to use in things as diverse as granola bars and ice cream.

The peanut company, though, knew in advance that Mr. Hatfield was coming. He had less than a day to check the entire plant, which processed several million pounds of peanuts a month.

Mr. Hatfield, 66, an expert in fresh produce, was not aware that peanuts were readily susceptible to salmonella — which he was not required to test for anyway. And while Mr. Hatfield was inspecting the plant to reassure Kellogg and other food companies of its suitability as a supplier, the Peanut Corporation was paying for his efforts.

“The overall food safety level of this facility was considered to be: SUPERIOR,” he concluded in his March 27, 2008, report for his employer, the American Institute of Baking, which performs audits for major food companies. A copy of the audit was obtained by The New York Times.

Federal investigators later discovered that the dilapidated plant was ravaged by salmonella and had been shipping tainted peanuts and paste for at least nine months. But they were too late to prevent what has become one of the nation’s worst known outbreaks of food-borne disease in recent years, in which nine are believed to have died and an estimated 22,500 were sickened.

With government inspectors overwhelmed by the task of guarding the nation’s food supply, the job of monitoring food plants has in large part fallen to an army of private auditors like Mr. Hatfield. And the problems go well beyond peanuts.

An examination of the largest food poisoning outbreaks in recent years — in products as varied as spinach, pet food, and a children’s snack, Veggie Booty — show that auditors failed to detect problems at plants whose contaminated products later sickened consumers.

In one case involving hamburgers fed to schoolchildren, the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company in California passed 17 separate audits in 2007, records show. Then an undercover video made that year showed the plant’s workers using forklifts to force sickly cows into the slaughterhouse, which prompted a recall of 143 million pounds of beef in February 2008.

“The contributions of third-party audits to food safety is the same as the contribution of mail-order diploma mills to education,” said Mansour Samadpour, a Seattle consultant who has worked with companies nationwide to improve food safety.

Audits are not required by the government, but food companies are increasingly requiring suppliers to undergo them as a way to ensure safety and minimize liability. The rigor of audits varies widely and many companies choose the cheapest ones, which cost as little as $1,000, in contrast to the $8,000 the Food and Drug Administration spends to inspect a plant.

Typically, the private auditors inspect only manufacturing plants, not the suppliers that feed ingredients to those facilities. Nor do they commonly test the actual food products for pathogens, even though gleaming production lines can turn out poisoned fare.

As in the Georgia peanut case, auditors are also usually paid by the food plants they inspect, which some experts said could deter them from cracking down. Yet food companies often point to an auditor’s certificate as a seal of approval.

The baking institute, which is based in Manhattan, Kan., and is also known as AIB International, says it inspected more than 10,000 food production sites in 80 countries last year. James R. Munyon, its president and chief executive, said his group’s inspections were reliable and tough, no matter who pays for them, but he declined to elaborate on specific audits.

Kellogg officials declined to be interviewed for this article. The company has said it is reviewing its use of private audits, including those by the American Institute of Baking. Kellogg said it required the Peanut Corporation to provide it with annual audits of the Georgia facility. Kellogg has recalled more than a dozen products, including Keebler crackers and Famous Amos cookies.

The retail giant Costco, which had already limited the institute’s audits to bakery vendors, has now told suppliers to stop using the group altogether.

Both the food industry and federal officials say they are aware of the problems with third-party audits. Nonetheless, the F.D.A. has proposed expanding the role of private auditors to inspect the more than 200,000 foreign facilities that ship food to the United States. The agency has proposed a voluntary certification program that would toughen audit standards and alert federal authorities of problems — an idea that has met stiff resistance from the food industry.

Food safety advocates say that audits can play a useful role in improving sanitation and catching problems. But in case after case, the audits have failed to prevent major outbreaks.

In 2007, Keystone Foods, the Pennsylvania plant that makes Veggie Booty, received an “excellent” rating from the American Institute of Baking. But the audit did not extend to ingredient suppliers, including a New Jersey company whose imported spices from China were tainted with salmonella.

As many as 2,000 people in 19 states were sickened, according to federal estimates. The incident prompted the New York company that sells the snack, Robert’s American Gourmet, to add its own inspections and regularly test ingredients for contamination.

Even when audits do turn up problems, it is up to the discretion of food companies to fix them.

After Nebraska Beef was linked to an E. coli outbreak in 2006, officials from the United States Department of Agriculture found that the company had not carried out the recommendations of auditors who had identified numerous problems at the plant in the preceding months.

Nebraska Beef has disputed its culpability in the outbreak, which sickened at least 17 people. A company spokesman said Thursday that the problems identified in the audit had been corrected but could not provide documents to verify that claim.

Robert A. LaBudde, a food safety expert who has consulted with food companies for 30 years, said, “The only thing that matters is productivity.” He added that “you only get in trouble if someone in the media traces it back to you, and that’s rare, like a meteor strike.”

Dr. LaBudde said a sausage plant hired him five years ago to determine the species of bacillus plaguing its meat. But the owner then refused to complete the testing. “I called them ‘anthrax sausages,’ and said they could be killing older people in the state, and still they wouldn’t do it,” he said, declining to name the company.

There are more than 200 companies and numerous independent operators in private food inspection. Few have grown faster than the American Institute of Baking. In addition to the peanut factories, the organization’s 120 auditors handle clients who process meat, seafood, vegetables, spices, oils and dairy products.

The baking institute also sells educational services to food industry personnel; the Peanut Corporation of America said some of its employees attended the organization’s food safety training classes. Audits provide nearly half the income for the organization, according to tax filings and the organization’s Web site.

Mr. Munyon, the organization’s president, said its auditors were drawn from industry experts with vast experience in food safety. “AIB emphasizes the educational value of its inspection procedure to the management and employees of the facilities it provides services to,” he said.

Mr. Munyon acknowledged that auditors were allowed to solicit contracts from plants that they then audited, but said this posed no ethical issues because the auditors were on salary, not paid by commission. Mr. Hatfield first audited the Peanut Corporation plant in Georgia in 2007 after contacting the plant’s managers to solicit their business.

The American Institute of Baking’s dual role as an educator and inspector troubles some in the food industry, as does its expansion beyond baking audits. Before the salmonella outbreak, Costco had rebuffed repeated proposals by the organization to inspect all its food suppliers.

“The American Institute of Baking is bakery experts,” said R. Craig Wilson, the top food safety official at Costco. “But you stick them in a peanut butter plant or in a beef plant, they are stuffed.”

Costco, Kraft Foods and Darden Restaurants are among a group of food manufacturers and other companies that use detailed plans to prevent food safety hazards. They also supplement third-party audits with their own inspections and testing of ingredients and plant surfaces for microbes.

The American Institute of Baking was not alone in missing the trouble at the Peanut Corporation plant in Blakely, Ga. State inspectors also found only minor problems, while a federal team last month uncovered a number of alarming signs, as well as testing records from the company itself that showed salmonella in its products as far back as June 2007. Federal health officials say there are now 677 officially reported cases of salmonella poisoning in the outbreak, which reflects only about 3 percent of the total number of people sickened.

But the baking institute’s private audit of the peanut plant had particular heft in assuring food makers that the processed peanuts were safe. Plant workers, in interviews with The Times, also cited the audits’ findings when asked why they did not pursue their own concerns about the plant.

Another audit of the peanut plant, by the Michigan-based NSF Cook & Thurber, raises further questions about the usefulness of private audits. That audit found nearly two dozen problems that it characterized as “minor,” but it nonetheless gave the peanut plant an overall score of 91 out of 100.

NSF officials said that for their audits, this was a low score. But the company that paid for the audit, the insurance giant American International Group, then sold the peanut company insurance to cover the costs of recalling products, according to lawyers for the Peanut Corporation.

Mr. Hatfield, who audited the peanut plant for the American Institute of Baking, referred questions to the organization, which said he “is degreed in biology” and “trained to do the job.” In auditing the Blakely plant last March, Mr. Hatfield became concerned about his ability to check the plant thoroughly and asked for more than the one day allotted, according to people familiar with the audit. The Peanut Corporation agreed to pay for the additional time, but only in future audits, according to those people.

Mr. Hatfield checked to see that the plant had a system in place to test its products for contamination, but the audit indicated that he did not ask to see any test results for salmonella and therefore did not know that the plant had found the bacteria.

“I never thought that this bacteria would survive in the peanut butter type environment,” Mr. Hatfield wrote to a food safety expert on Jan. 20, after the deadly salmonella outbreak was made public, according to a copy of his e-mail message. “What the heck is going on??”

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

All Natural does NOT always mean Safe....

FDA Logo--links to FDA home page

Trader Joe’s Expands Its Voluntary Recall To Include Trader Joe’s Sliced Green Apples With All Natural Peanut Butter

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- (January 23, 2009) Monrovia, CA - Trader Joe’s today expands its voluntary recall to include Trader Joe’s Sliced Green Apples With All Natural Peanut Butter, 7-ounce (UPC 92459) because the product contains peanut butter that was manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), which is the focus of an ongoing Salmonella investigation.

Yesterday as part of the ongoing PCA investigation, as a precaution Trader Joe’s voluntarily recalled three private label items including: Peanut Butter Chewy Coated & Drizzled Granola Bars, 7.4-ounce (UPC 88713), Nutty Chocolate Chewy Coated & Drizzled Granola Bars 7.4-ounce (UPC 88721) and Sutter’s Formula Cookies, 16-ounce (UPC 00176)

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail and elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. For more information on salmonella, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web-site at

As a precaution, in advance of this recall, Trader Joe’s removed all four items from store shelves. Both Chewy Coated & Drizzled Granola Bars were supplied by Lovin Oven, LLC and the Sutter’s Formula Cookies were produced by WendySue & Tobey's Bakery.

The Sliced Green Apples With All Natural Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Chewy Coated & Drizzled Granola Bars and Nutty Chocolate Chewy Coated & Drizzled Granola Bars were sold at Trader Joe’s stores nationwide.

The affected Sutter’s Formula Cookies were sold only in Trader Joe’s stores located in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

At this time, there have been no confirmed cases of illnesses or adverse affects affiliated with these products.

At Trader Joe’s we take the safety of our customers and the integrity of our products very seriously. Customers who have purchased any of these items (any date code) are urged to return them to any Trader Joe’s for a full refund. Customers with questions may contact Trader Joe’s Customer Service at (626) 599-3817.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Peanut Butter in Pet Food too BEWARE!!!

FDA Logo--links to FDA home page
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
HHS Log--links to Department of Health and Human Services website

horizontal rule

PetSmart Voluntarily Recalls Grreat Choice® Dog Biscuits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- PHOENIX, AZ, January 20, 2009 -- PetSmart is voluntarily recalling seven of its Grreat Choice® Dog Biscuit products that contain peanut paste made by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). PCA is the focus of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation into potential salmonella contamination of peanut butter and paste made at its Blakely, Georgia facility.

Although PetSmart is not aware of any reported cases of illness related to these products, it has removed these products from its store shelves and website and is conducting the recall as a precautionary measure.

The recalled products include only the following types of Grreat Choice Dog Biscuits sold between Aug. 21, 2008 and Jan. 19, 2009:

  • Small Assorted 32 oz., UPC 73725702900
  • Small/Medium Assorted 4 lb., UPC 73725700601
  • Small/Medium Assorted 8 lb., UPC 73725700605
  • Small/Medium Assorted 10 lb., UPC 73725702755
  • Large Assorted 8 lb., UPC 73725700638
  • Extra Large Assorted 8 lb., UPC 73725700779
  • Peanut Butter 4 lb., UPC 73725700766

Customers who purchased the recalled dog biscuit products should discontinue use immediately and can return the product to any PetSmart store for a complete refund or exchange. Customers can visit for more information or contact PetSmart Customer Service at 1-888-839-9638.

No other products or flavors are included in this recall.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Government has advised consumers to avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream and other foods containing peanut butter

Kellogg says FDA confirms salmonella in crackers:

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Kellogg Co. said Monday federal authorities have confirmed that salmonella was found in a single package of its peanut butter crackers, as a Midwestern grocer recalled some of its products because of the scare.
Kellogg had recalled 16 products last week because of the possibility of salmonella contamination.
On Monday, the company based in Battle Creek said that contamination was confirmed by the Food and Drug Administration in a single package of Austin Quality Foods Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter.
Food companies and retailers have been recalling products with peanut butter in them because of suspicion of contamination amid a salmonella outbreak that has killed at least six people and sickened more than 470 others in 43 states. At least 90 people have been hospitalized.
Also Monday, Midwestern grocer and retailer Meijer Inc. said it was recalling two types of crackers and two varieties of ice cream because of the possibility of salmonella contamination: Meijer brand Cheese and Peanut Butter and Toasty Peanut Butter sandwich crackers, and Peanut Butter and Jelly and Peanut Butter Cup ice cream.
It was not immediately clear how many packages of Kellogg crackers had been tested, if more tests were being made on other products or if some had already been found not have salmonella, Kellogg spokeswoman Kris Charles said.
The government on Saturday had advised consumers to avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream and other foods containing peanut butter until health officials learn more about the contamination.
Officials have been focusing on peanut paste and peanut butter made at Peanut Corp. of America's plant in Blakely, Ga.
On Sunday, Peanut Corp. expanded its own recall to all peanut butter and peanut paste produced at the Blakely plant since July 1.
The company's peanut butter is not sold directly to consumers but it is distributed to institutions and food companies. The peanut paste, made from roasted peanuts, is an ingredient in cookies, cakes and other products sold to consumers.
Meijer, based in Grand Rapids, said in a news release Monday it was issuing its recall because makers of its products had announced possible contamination. The products are sold in Meijer stores and gas stations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.
The recall last week by Kellogg, the world's largest cereal maker, affected products including Keebler Soft Batch Homestyle Peanut Butter Cookies, Famous Amos Peanut Butter Cookies and Keebler Cheese & Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers. Charles said the recall affected 7 million cases of its products.
Kellogg Chief Executive David Mackay said the company would evaluate its processes "to ensure we take necessary actions to reassure consumers and rebuild confidence in these products."
Salmonella, a bacteria, is the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.S., causing diarrhea, cramping and fever.

Friday, January 16, 2009

453 Illnesses, 5 Deaths Tied To Peanut Butter


Sat Jan 17 03:55:36 UTC 2009
Five deaths linked to most salmonella outbreak

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Five deaths have now been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning linked to peanut butter, but the strain involved is not particularly virulent, U.S. health officials said on Friday.

Later, the company at the center of the case, Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), said it had been informed by the Food and Drug Administration that some samples of its products had tested positive for Salmonella. The company also expanded its recall and immediately ceased all production at the suspect facility.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 453 infections had been reported in 43 states and said more cases could be expected. One case was reported in Canada.

"Of these 22 percent are hospitalized and five deaths have been reported that may be associated," said the CDC's Dr. Robert Tauxe. He said this was an average rate for Salmonella.

Tauxe and other officials confirmed the outbreak could be linked to peanut butter and peanut paste from Peanut Corporation of America, which has voluntarily recalled peanut butter produced in its Blakely, Georgia, processing facility.

On Friday night, PCA President Stewart Parnell said in a statement: "Today, the FDA informed PCA that new product samples in unopened containers tested positive for Salmonella."

As a result, PCA expanded its recall to cover all peanut butter made on or after August 8, 2008, and peanut paste produced on or after September 26, 2008, at the Blakely plant.

The recalled peanut butter was sold in bulk packaging in containers ranging in size from five to 1,700 pounds and the peanut paste was sold in sizes ranging from 35 pound containers to tanker containers. None of the peanut butter or peanut paste being recalled is sold through retail stores, PCA said.

The company has stressed that only institutional peanut butter was involved, not name-brand consumer products, but Kellogg Co said on Wednesday it had put a precautionary hold on Austin and Keebler branded peanut butter snacks.

"Peanut butter is used as an ingredient in many different foods, which makes this investigation complicated," Tauxe told reporters in a telephone briefing.

"In fact this appears to be an ingredient-driven outbreak."

The CDC, state health officials and the FDA are interviewing patients to see if they can remember eating any particular foods. The officials said about two-thirds of patients remembered having eaten peanut butter, but noted that some foods contain peanut products that may not be obvious.

"We urged companies to check (their records) ... and tell us if the peanuts came from PCA," the FDA's Stephen Sundlof said.

Tauxe said Salmonella Typhimurium is a common strain, accounting for about 20 percent of the 40,000 Salmonella cases reported in the United States every year.

"Peanut butter is not a food that supports the growth of bacteria in general," Tauxe said. This is why it can be stored unrefrigerated.

"Salmonella and other bacteria, if they are introduced into peanut butter ... they are not in any way destroyed," Tauxe said.

"They don't continue to grow in the peanut butter but they similarly are not killed in the peanut butter. So they sit there in a dormant state."

An outbreak of salmonella was linked to Peter Pan brand peanut butter in 2007. ConAgra Foods Inc closed a Georgia plant after more than 300 people became ill.

Salmonella can cause abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever and it can kill the very young and the very old.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; additional reporting by Steve James; Editing by Julie Steenhuysen)

Monday, January 12, 2009

CDC: Tainted peanut butter, 3 deaths may be linked

Associated Press:
By ELIZABETH DUNBAR – 4 hours ago
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The salmonella bacteria that has sickened more than 400 people in 43 states has been conclusively linked to peanut butter, Minnesota health officials announced Monday. Federal officials said the outbreak may have contributed to three deaths.
State health and agriculture officials said last week they had found salmonella bacteria in a 5-pound package of King Nut peanut butter at a nursing facility in Minnesota. Officials tested the bacteria over the weekend and found a genetic match with the bacterial strain that has led to 30 illnesses in Minnesota and others across the country.
"The commonality among all of our patients was that they ate peanut butter," said Doug Schultz, a spokesman with the Minnesota Department of Health. While the brand of peanut butter couldn't be confirmed in every case, the majority of patients consumed the same brand, he said Monday.
"This certainly is one pretty definitive piece of evidence in this case," Heidi Kassenborg of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said Monday.
The peanut butter was distributed only through food service providers and was not sold directly to consumers. Officials are concerned the peanut butter is still being used, and Kassenborg urged institutions to toss it out.
A woman in her 70s at a northern Minnesota nursing home died after contracting salmonella, although epidemiologist Stephanie Meyer of the state Health Department said it wasn't clear whether the illness or underlying health problems caused the death. The woman was not at the facility where the bacteria was initially found.
The Centers for Disease Control, in a release later Monday, said the salmonella poisonings may have contributed to three deaths. The CDC didn't detail the deaths or where they occurred, and spokesman Dave Daigle said the agency would have no other details Monday.
Minnesota officials took the lead because foodborne investigations typically start at the state level. Minnesota officials were coordinating their investigation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other states.
King Nut Companies of Solon, Ohio, on Sunday asked its customers to stop using peanut butter under its King Nut and Parnell's Pride brands with a lot code that begins with the numeral "8." Company president and chief executive Martin Kanan said Monday that Minnesota's findings validated that decision.
"We did not want to wait around for the results," he said.
However, Kanan argued that King Nut could not be the source of the nationwide salmonella outbreak because the company distributes only to seven states — Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, Arizona, Idaho and New Hampshire.
The peanut butter King Nut distributed was manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America, a Virginia company. In an e-mail earlier Monday, President Stewart Parnell said the company was working with federal authorities.
The peanut butter was distributed to establishments such as care facilities, hospitals, schools, universities and restaurants. King Nut says it was not distributed for retail sale to consumers.
The CDC on Monday raised the number of confirmed cases to 410, from 399 as of Friday, and Mississippi became the 43rd state to report a case. All the illnesses began between Sept. 15 and Jan. 7, but most of the people became sick after Oct. 1.
Kanan held out the possibility that the contamination came from another source, since the salmonella was found in an open container.
"That means there's a possibility of cross-contamination, somebody could have been cutting a piece of chicken and then stuck the knife into the peanut butter for a peanut butter sandwich," he said. "There have been no tests that have come back positive on a closed container."
The Minnesota lab took 13 samples from the container, and four of the samples, taken from different parts of the container, tested positive for salmonella. Doug Schultz, a Minnesota Health Department spokesman, said if the sample was contaminated from another source, lab tests would be expected to show positive results from near the top of the container only.
But Schultz said lab workers also aim to test unopened containers of the peanut butter and are trying to get such samples from the distributor.
The peanut butter contamination comes almost two years after ConAgra recalled its Peter Pan brand peanut butter, which was eventually linked to at least 625 salmonella cases in 47 states.
CDC officials say the bacteria in the current outbreak has been genetically fingerprinted as the Typhimurium type, which is among the most common sources of salmonella food poisoning.
Martiga Lohn in St. Paul and Thomas J. Sheeran in Cleveland contributed to this report.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

King Nut Issues Peanut Butter Recall

FDA Logo--links to FDA home page
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

King Nut Issues Peanut Butter Recall

Customers are asked to take all King Nut peanut butter and Parnell’s Pride peanut butter distributed by King Nut out of distribution immediately. For more information, go to

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE --Solon, Ohio (January 10, 2009) - King Nut Companies, a distributor of peanut butter manufactured for them by Peanut Corporation of America, today announced a recall of peanut butter distributed under the King Nut label. No other King Nut products are included in this recall.

King Nut took this action as soon as it was informed that salmonella had been found in an open five-pound tub of King Nut peanut butter. King Nut distributes peanut butter only through food service accounts. It is not sold directly to consumers. King Nut does not supply any of the ingredients for the peanut butter distributed under its label. All other King Nut products are safe and not included in this voluntary recall.

“We are very sorry this happened,” said Martin Kanan, president and chief executive officer of King Nut Companies. “We are taking immediate and voluntary action because the health and safety of those who use our products is always our highest priority.”

“Because we don’t manufacture peanut butter, we will do what we can to get this product out of distribution and will work with the manufacturer to inform others of this problem,” Kanan said. “We also distribute peanut butter from this manufacturer under the Parnell’s Pride brand, although we are not the only distributor. However, we have asked our customers to remove this brand as well.”

Kanan said that King Nut began contacting customers immediately to stop distributing all peanut butter with lot codes beginning with “8,” and immediately cancelled orders with the manufacturer.

Martin Kanan
440-248-8484 extension 244

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

UnKnown Source: Salmonella outbreak sickens 388 across U.S

Salmonella outbreak sickens 388 across U.S.: CDC
Wed Jan 07 20:10:36 UTC 2009

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An outbreak of salmonella food poisoning has made 388 people sick across 42 states, sending 18 percent of them to the hospital, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to trace the source of the outbreak, which began in September. The Department of Agriculture, state health officials and the Food and Drug Administration are also involved.

The CDC said poultry, cheese and eggs are the most common source of this particular strain, known as Salmonella typhimurium.

"It is often difficult to identify sources of foodborne outbreaks. People may not remember the foods they recently ate and may not be aware of all of the ingredients in food. That's what makes these types of investigations very difficult," said CDC spokesman David Daigle.

Daigle did not specify how many people were hospitalized, but the percentage he gave puts that figure at about 70.

"Because foods of animal origin may be contaminated with Salmonella, people should not eat raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat. Persons also should not consume raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products. Produce should be thoroughly washed," he said.

Only Ohio state health officials have agreed to have their state named as one of those affected, with an estimated 50 cases.

Every year, approximately 40,000 people are reported ill with salmonella in the United States, the CDC says, but it said many more cases are never reported.

There have been several recent high-profile outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States, including a strain of Salmonella carried by peppers from Mexico and that sickened 1,400 people from April to August of 2007 and an E. coli epidemic in 2006, traced to California spinach, that killed three.

Salmonella-contaminated dry pet food sickened at least 79 people, including many young children, in October and November.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox)


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