Thursday, August 21, 2014

Woman's Home Soup Operation Shut Down

Virginia Department of Ag and Consumer Services (VDACS) shut down a woman who was making canned soup in own kitchen and selling them at a Farmers' Market.   While she had been making her soups for 30 years, she is not allowed to sell these types of products.

In the video report by the local news channel, you can see Denise's operation.  While she said she boils it, it is clear that she is using a pressure canner...thank goodness for that.  Regardless, there are reasons why we have strict regulations around the canning of low acid foods that will be sold.   My guess is that if we started looking at the various products making their way to farmers' markets, there will be plenty more issues.

VDACS News Release


Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686

Food safety staff from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) warn consumers not to eat any canned soups or sauces made by Corfinio Foods of Richmond. These products were improperly processed, making them susceptible to contamination with Clostridium botulinum. Ingestion of botulism toxin from improperly processed jarred and canned foods may lead to serious illness and death.

Corfinio Foods has already suspended production of all of its canned soups and sauces and the firm is currently working with VDACS to come into compliance with state requirements. Although there have been no reported cases of illness associated with these products, VDACS is issuing this consumer warning so that people who have previously purchased the products do not consume them.

The soups and sauces are packaged in glass, mason style jars with metal, screw on lids and have been sold at the Brandermill Green Market. The jars are marked with the Corfinio Foods label. The firm was made aware of the dangers associated with selling improperly processed foods of this type and is working with VDACS and the market to notify consumers of the product recall.

Consumers who have any of these products or any foods made with these products should discard them immediately. They should double bag the jars in plastic bags and place in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash. Those who don’t wear gloves when handling these products should wash their hands with soap and running water after handling.

Botulism toxin is odorless and colorless. It is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The initial symptoms frequently experienced are double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids and dry or sore throat. Progressive descending paralysis, usually symmetrical, may follow. Infants with botulism appear lethargic, feed poorly, are constipated, and have a weak cry and poor muscle tone.

VDACS recommends that consumers experiencing any ill effects after consuming these products should consult their health care providers immediately.


WWBT NBC Channel 12 Richmond
State shuts down Richmond homemade soup biz

Posted: Aug 21, 2014 1:18 AM EDT <em class="wnDate">Thursday, August 21, 2014 1:18 AM EDT</em>Updated: Aug 21, 2014 1:23 AM EDT <em class="wnDate">Thursday, August 21, 2014 1:23 AM EDT</em>
By Kelly Avellino - bio | email


A local mom-and-pop soup operation is now shut down, after state regulators warned the public of possible botulism poisoning. Corfinio Foods has been selling glass jars of Italian soups and sauces at the Brandermill Green Market, since May. However, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services told the owner, Denise Ashworth, she could no longer sell the homemade, jarred specialties to the public.

Ashworth, of Richmond, says she thought she was following the regulations.

"I've been canning for 30 years," said Ashworth of the family recipes she cooks up in her kitchen.

Virginia health officials recently halted Ashworth's stand at the farmer's market, during a visit. Health inspectors told Ashworth she wasn't allowed to cook, jar and sell her recipes because of sanitation regulations.

"The state of Virginia told me that I was selling stuff that was unsafe, and I don't want to do that," continued Ashworth.

Ashworth says she read government regulations online about at-home canning of food. However, she didn't realize it was against regulation to sell it.

"I would never, ever sell anything to the home public that I knew was going to be a harm to anybody," said Ashworth.

Ashworth boils the glass mason jars several times over to help disinfect and seal them. Regardless, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services sent out an alert, instructing anyone who bought Corfinio Foods products to throw them out. Officials warn that improperly jarred food can lead to botulism poisoning, a rare, but potentially fatal, illness caused by bacteria.

Ultimately, Ashworth will have to prepare most of her food at a licensed facility, and hire a cannery to seal the jars. Meantime, no one yet has reported getting sick from her food. Ashworth says she's looking into investing in a licensed facility so she can continue selling her specialty sauces within regulation.

Meantime, a representative from the Brandermill Green Market says the market is no longer renting a space to Corfinio Foods.

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