Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bacon Jam recalled - failure to understand acidified foods

A Canadian company is recalling bacon jam after testing by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) indicated that the product may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum, a toxin producing bacteria responsible for causing botulism.

When developing products such as this, it is important that those products have product parameters in place (we often refer to them as hurdles) to prevent C. botulinum growth and toxin production.
  • Having an equilibrium pH of 4.6 or less.  Equilibrium pH means that all components in the product must have reached this limit in 24 hours or less after processing.
  • Having a low water activity of less than 0.85.  Water activity is a term used for the available moisture.  This water activity (or Aw) must be stable through time and consistent throughout the product.
  • Having a preservative package (one or more preservatives that are added taking into account the food matrix)
Designing one or more of these parameters into the finished product will not necessary create a shelf-stable product, so in some cases, products will still need to be refrigerated.  It is also important that these product will need to receive a heat treatment.  For more information, you can review FDA's guidance on Acidified Foods.
Jarred or bottled foods have been the food-of-choice for many entrepreneurs.  Product types include salsas, barbeque sauces, salad dressings, jams and jellies, and pickled products. There are a number of reasons including longer shelf-life, ease of processing and the ability to find niches within the market place (although is one guy's salad dressing that much better than one you buy at the store).   It is important that food product developers, especially novices, understand how product and process parameters impact food safety.  I guess Brad did not do his best efforts in understanding this.
Calgary Herald
Bacon jam recalled in Alberta over botulism concerns
By David Blackwell, Calgary Herald February 5, 2014
A brand of bacon jam is being recalled in Alberta after testing indicated it could contain the bacteria that causes botulism.
Kitchen by Brad Smoliak brand bacon spread is being removed from the marketplace after Canadian Food Inspection Agency tests revealed it may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum.

The agency said food tainted with the toxin may not look or smell like it is spoiled but can still cause serious illness if it's eaten with symptoms including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, respiraty failure, and paralysis. In the worse cases, food-borne bolutlism can cause death.
There have been no reported illnesses associated with the bacon jam, the CFIA said.
The bacon spread being recalled was sold in Alberta in 125 g jars with best before dates of May 14 and July 14, 2014. If you have any, you should throw it away or return it for a refund, the CFIA said.
Smoliak apologized for the recall by his Edmonton-based company in a post on his website, saying that he deeply regrets the recall.
"I acknowledge that my best efforts failed and I am sorry," Smoliak said on the site
From the Company's Website
Recall of Bacon Jam
Dear KITCHEN Customers and Friends,
I learned today that certain batches of my Bacon Jam, or Bacon by Brad Smoliak, product may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum, or the bacteria that can cause botulism.
The affected product is labeled “Bacon by Brad” and was sold only in Alberta with the Best Before dates of “14 MA 14” and “14 JL 14”.
If you have any of the affected product, please throw it out immediately, or return it to KITCHEN by Brad or the retail store where you purchased it for a full refund.
I deeply regret the concern and uncertainty this may cause you. I am a chef that lives in a culture of food safety. I have an unwavering commitment to keeping your food safe with standards that go beyond regulatory requirements. I acknowledge that my best efforts failed and I am sorry.
The same day we learned of this possibility, we worked with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to execute a full recall of the product. There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. The recall does not include any other Kitchen by Brad food product. The affected product was made in an off-site manufacturing facility and not at Kitchen.
I understand that your confidence in my products may be shaken, but I commit to you that my actions today and in the future will always be guided by putting your interests first.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at or 780-757-7704.
Brad Smoliak

Company website
ABOUT Bacon Jam
Bacon Jam makes it easy for you to have bacon anytime, anywhere.
Bacon Jam is a spreadable condiment that’s the perfect balance between salty and sweet. It’s made with bacon (of course!), onions, garlic, tomatoes, a touch of espresso, maple syrup and it has just a touch of smoky chipotle heat.
Anywhere you use bacon, use bacon jam instead. It is easy to spread and goes with pretty much anything – grilled cheese sandwiches, tossed with potatoes, amp up a pasta sauce or your BBQ’d burgers, BLTs redefined, as a pizza topping and more. Check out some Brad’s ideas and recipes for Bacon Jam. It also makes a great corporate or hostess gift.
Bacon Jam is the signature product from Brad Smoliak, the owner and chef behind KITCHEN. If you know Brad, you know he has always LOVED bacon. For years, he made a similar bacon jam in his kitchen and featured it in many of the meals he created. Every time bacon jam was on the menu, it was a huge hit. Finally, Brad decided it was time to take his bacon dreams to the next level. He played with the recipe, put it in jars, and today is manufacturing the product in large quantities in Edmonton, Alberta in a federally inspected facility. Click here for nutritional information on Bacon Jam.
Where can you buy Bacon Jam? Here are all of the grocery and independent retail locations where Bacon Jam is sold. Get your jar today!

Kitchen by Brad Smoliak
 Behind the KITCHEN that is home to classes and parties is a research and development kitchen. It’s here where Brad develops, tests and brings to market new recipes, menus and new food products for restaurants, food manufacturers and foodservice providers.
With two and a half decades of culinary training as an executive chef, Brad blends his knowledge of food science, consumer tastes and the food marketplace to create unique food products and recipes. Brad has created new products and developed recipes for a wide variety of clients across Canada and North America, including a national retail grocery chain, a national restaurant chain, the Little Potato Company and Kitchen Partners. He served as the Chef for Discover Cuisine and one of his Discover Cuisine products won in the savoury frozen food category at the 2006 SIAL Canada food show. Brad was proud to be the Chef/Consultant for the Government of Alberta’s presence at the 2011 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
Brad is a Certified Research Chef and has advanced his knowledge and skills with ongoing training and development at the Guelph Food and Technology Center and the Culinary Institute of America in California.
If you are a food manufacturer, restaurant, foodservice provider, grower, producer or commodity group and want to learn more about how Brad’s research and development services could grow your business and build market share, contact Brad today.

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