Friday, March 8, 2013

Can Seal Issue Results in Recall

Bumble Bee Tuna is recalling 5 oz cans of tuna due to loose seals . While there have been no illnesses, a loose seal can lead to product contamination, especially if the can is jostled sufficiently to provide a micro leak through the seal area. The products were distributed for retail sale nationwide between Jan. 17 and March 6 of this year. They have 'best by' codes ranging from Jan. 14, 2016 to March 6, 2016.

We do not normally see recalls for loose seals. In general, the double seam inspection is one of the most important food safety checks in a canning facility. To close a can, a lid is placed on top of the can and a series of rollers press the lid and can together to form a double seam.

There is a sealing compound on the lid that gets squeezed, and the final double seam will ensure the can seal is ‘hermetically sealed’, so that no air, or microorganisms can pass. Measurements are taken, often hourly, to ensure that the measurements of the seal are correct (the overlap, the length, the width, etc). For those that do it, they know what a tedious task it is. Each product line may have multiple seamers, each with multiple heads, all which must be checked.

A seal that is evaluated as loose is a food safety hazard . If multiple days of production are implicated for having loose seals, that result in an extremely costly recall, especially considering canning lines run in the range of 1000 cans/minute or higher.  2 months of product is a lot of cans of tuna.

FDA Recall Notice

Bumble Bee Foods Expands Voluntary Recall on Specific Codes of 5-Ounce Chunk White Albacore and Chunk Light Tuna Products Due to Loose Seals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - SAN DIEGO - March 7, 2013 -- Bumble Bee Foods, LLC, is expanding a voluntary recall on specific codes of 5-ounce Chunk White Albacore and Chunk Light Tuna products. The recall has been issued because the products do not meet the company's standards for seal tightness.
Loose seals or seams could result in product contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens and lead to illness if consumed. There have been no reports to date of any illness associated with these products.

Bumble Bee initially announced the voluntary recall on Wednesday, March 6 after identifying an issue on a manufacturing line, which has been corrected. The company's final assessment of all products affected with the recall include the following products with "best by" and code dates: See LINK for complete listing.

These products were distributed for retail sale nationwide between January 17, 2013 and March 6, 2013.

Bumble Bee Foods SVP of Technical Services and Corporate Quality Assurance Steve Mavity said: "Due to can integrity concerns, our top priority at this time is to remove these recalled products from distribution as soon as possible. We are working closely with our sales team and with retailers to help expedite the recall.

"We must assure our consumers and retailers of a safe and quality product so we very much appreciate everyone's part in disposing of the products with the specific codes indicated. We're voluntarily recalling products to ensure the highest margin of safety and quality," Mavity said.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled products should discard them by disposing in the garbage. Consumers should also direct any questions on the recall or reimbursement by contacting the 24-hour dedicated recall line at (888) 820-1947.

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