Thursday, September 29, 2016

Onion Rings Recalled Due to Allergen Mislabeling - Reason for Implementing Preventive Controls

McCain Foods issued a recall notice for Onion Rings and then reissued the notice to expand the recall to additional labels.  The pre-labeled packaging did not list milk on the label although it was included in the formulation.

This is the type of recall that the Preventive Controls rule was designed to help prevent.  By having a formalized check of the labels at the receipt of those labels and then again at the time of packaging would have provided 2 opportunities to compare the label to the formulation.  Of course, it is important to have the sub-ingredients listed, in this case, they are probably purchasing the breader / batter that will be used to coat the onion rings.

Instituting such a check is not overly difficult. It just takes a few minutes to compare the label to the formula.   However, the cost of recall resulting from non-compliance can run into the millions of dollars.

FDA Recall Notice
McCain Foods USA, Inc. Announces a Product Recall Impacting Frozen Onion Rings Sold and Distributed Under Four Separate Private Label Retail Brands
For Immediate Release
September 23, 2016

Enforcement of Rule for Ground Meat Logs Starts Oct. 1

 On October 1, USDA FSIS will begin enforcement of the rule requiring establishments and retail stores that grind raw beef for sale in commerce to maintain a log of the lot information on which raw materials were used to produce that ground meat.  Specifically:
  1. The establishment numbers of the establishments supplying the materials used to prepare each lot of raw ground beef product; 
  2. All supplier lot numbers and production dates; 
  3. The names of the supplied materials, including beef components and any materials carried over from one production lot to the next; 
  4. The date and time each lot of raw ground beef product is produced, and 
  5. The date and time when grinding equipment and other related food-contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized. 
FSIS Notice

Kids Sick from Poisonous Mushrooms - The Potential Perils of Community Gardens

Seventeen school-aged children became sick after eating poisonous mushrooms.  According to the report, "...a volunteer thought the mushroom - later identified as green-spored parasol, a common poisonous wild mushroom - was an edible part of the garden. Seventeen students ate it and suffered various symptoms. Several of the students had severe reactions."

Community gardens are great for learning, but it is important to remember that the food safety basics still apply.    And for those that put the effort into planning, growing, and harvesting, effort has to go into training.   While this incident with poisonous mushrooms is probably a worst case scenario (having a truly uninformed volunteer give kids poisonous mushrooms), there are still other areas that need attention, including all the components of GAPs - good agricultural practices to include fertilizing properly, washing hands, washing produce before consumption, using potable water for watering, and cleaning food contact surfaces.  It is too easy to see where people get stupid ideas - fertilizing food with fresh manure (manure needs to be properly composted), watering crops from a pond or a unclean rain bucket (where that water is harboring harmful bacteria), etc.   It must be remembered that many of those visiting or consuming from these gardens are children.  Pre-school aged children, considered 'high risk', are of most concern because their immune systems are still under development.

Unlike a person's home garden, these foods go to a broad group of people, often outside of those people who were involved in growing and harvesting. It is the responsibility of those involved in growing and harvesting to follow practices that will minimize risk.

The Packer
L.A. school district issues safety alert on wild mushrooms after students fall ill
By Ashley Nickle September 26, 2016 | 4:55 pm EDT

Chicken Nuggets Recalled Due to Plastic Pieces

Tyson is recalling 132, 520 pounds of cooked chicken nuggets for plastic pieces.  Product was packed in an institutional 20lb size that was shipped to Pennsylvania and the 5lb retail pack was shipped nationally.

The recall was initiated after consumer complaints were made.  According to the report "the plastic material ranged in size from 21mm in length and 6.5mm in diameter and may have come from a round, hard plastic rod used to connect a plastic transfer belt. The firm said the products pass through a metal detector, but the plastic is not detectable to this technology".
In May, Foster Farms recalled chicken nuggets due to foreign material.  And in March, Purdue recalled chicken nuggets due to plastic pieces.  In 2014, Tyson recalled chicken nuggets due to plastic pieces.  It may make sense for those making chicken nuggets to invest in X-ray technology.

FSIS Recall Notice
Tyson Foods Inc. Recalls Chicken Nugget Products Due To Possible Foreign Matter Contamination
Class I Recall 089-2016
Health Risk: High Sep 27, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ham Products Recalled Due to Foreign Material

A Canadian company is recalling ham products after a complaint was received that there were rubber pieces in the ham.  These restructured hams are fully cooked / ready-to-eat.  The meat items were imported into the US and were sold at Costco and Sam's club


FSIS Recall Notice
502 Boundary Blvd. Recalls Black Forest Ham Products Due To Possible Foreign Matter Contamination
Class II Recall 085-2016
Health Risk: Low Sep 21, 2016

Blue Bell Recalls Two Ice Cream Products due to Potential Listeria Contamination

Blue Bell Ice Cream is recalling two flavors of product for potential Listeria contamination.  There have been no illnesses reported.  According to the company's press release, product was shipped to 10 states, primarily in the Southeast US.

Last year, Blue Bell shut down its 3 plants after their ice cream product was linked to a Listeria outbreak where 10 people were infected.  The company reopened the plants with increased controls and under increased government scrutiny.  In January of 2016, the company issued a release that their controls were effective, although they were still finding Listeria in the environment.

In this particular case, it looks as though the supplier of the cookie dough, Aspen Hills, may be at fault.  Blue Bell discovered the issue through testing of incoming products and notified Aspen Hills who then issued a recall.  This recall notice is posted on the Blue Bell website.  Unfortunately, product was released before these test results came to light.  Although Blue Bell states they do test and hold (product is not released before results come back), that test and hold looks to have been focused on finished product testing (and perhaps not ingredient testing?).

Of course this cookie dough is not technically raw.  It is product that is made to resemble raw cookie dough, but is a ready-to-eat product.  Being that it is ready-to-eat, it should be free of pathogens such as Listeria.

KHOU News Release
Blue Bell recalls ice cream over listeria concerns Staff , KHOU 11:59 PM. EST September 21, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Goat Cheese Recalled Due to Listeria Positive Sample

 A small Pennsylvania goat cheese manufacturer is recalling goal cheese products after PA Dept of Ag tested and found Listeria in the product.   No illnesses have been reported.

FDA Recall Notice
Apple Tree Goat Dairy Recalls Four Goat Cheeses Because of Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
September 20, 2016