Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rancho Meat recall leading to a cascade of recalls?

In light of the recall of meat produced by Rancho Feeding Corp, now comes the recalls of the products that were made with the meat from that facility.    Nestle is recalling 2 brands of Hot Pockets.  In Canada, beef and cheese taquitos were recalled (they were manufactured by a Californian processor).

 One has to hope that these downstream recalls are tied to a real safety issue.  To date, we have not seen any statement issued from USDA outside of the fact that  the meat was produced without inspection.  While that should not have happened, it is unclear at this point whether any product is actually harmful.

As for highly processed foods like Hot Pockets, heat treatment of the filling would have eliminated most all hazards, especially those of most concern, pathogens such as E. coli STEC and Salmonella.  (What?  Hot Pockets are highly processed?)

USDA closes school lunch supplier; some Hot Pockets recalled

By Ed Payne and Chandler Friedman, CNN
updated 3:30 PM EST, Wed February 19, 2014
CNN) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has withdrawn its inspectors and suspended operations at a California meat company because of "insanitary conditions at the establishment," the department's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Wednesday.

The Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford, California, supplies beef for federal school nutrition programs. In 2011, it provided nearly 21 million pounds of beef, or nearly 16% of the supply.

"The plant's suspension will be lifted once we receive adequate assurances of corrective action," a USDA statement said.

Meanwhile, Nestlé USA has issued a recall of two varieties of Philly Steak and Cheese Hot Pockets because they may contain meat the department has already recalled.

The two brands are Hot Pockets brand Philly Steak and Cheese in three different pack sizes, and Hot Pockets brand Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese in the two-pack box.

For the exact batch code, please check this release.

Earlier, the USDA had recalled more than 8.7 million pounds of meat from the Rancho Feeding Corp. because it "processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection."

No illnesses have been reported in relation to the recall.

According to Nestlé, consumers should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund or contact Nestlé consumer services at 800-392-4057.

In August 2012, Central Valley Meat was closed while the USDA investigated what it called "disturbing evidence of inhumane treatment of cattle" at the supplier following its receipt of a video from an animal welfare group.

However, the USDA said at the time the video found nothing that would compromise food safety.

Central Valley Meat was cleared to reopen a few days later after the USDA said the company "committed to a number of corrective actions, including additional humane handling training for employees and safeguards."

In October, Central Valley Meat recalled more than 89,000 pounds of ground beef, saying it may contain small pieces of plastic, according to the USDA. No illnesses were reported.

Diseased animals blamed for El Monterey food recall
 Edmonton Journal February 18, 2014
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced a nationwide recall of two El Monterey brand products Tuesday because they are believed to pose a health risk.

The CFIA said California-based Ruiz Food Products, which manufactures the items, initiated the recall because it processed diseased animals without benefit of an inspection.

“Therefore, these products are considered unsound, unwholesome or otherwise unfit for human consumption,” the CFIA notice said.

As a result, consumers are warned not to serve the products — 20-count Beef & Cheese Taquitos and 24-count Ranchero Steak Tornados.

Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

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