Friday, March 25, 2016

CDC Updates Salmonella Outbreak Info on Raw Meal Organic Shake Product

CDC provided an update on an ongoing Salmonella outbreak linked to Garden of Life Raw Meal Organic Shake and Meal Products.  there are now 27 cases in 20 states.

The company issued a recall on January 29, 2016 and then expanded the recall on February 12.  The issue was stated to be a ingredient contamination issue, namely organic Moringa Leaf powder (moringa oleifera, is a plant that is native to northern India and is used for health benefits).

CDC Outbreak News
Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Virchow Infections Linked to Garden of Life RAW Meal Organic Shake & Meal Products

Baby Food Pouches Recalled Due to Packaging Defect

Gerber is recalling 2 lots of baby food in pouches due to the potential for leakage because of a defect in the packaging.  The leakage could result in product spoilage.  It appears that the packaging defect was noticed by the company and they then went and issued the recall.

The good thing is that this is a low pH (high acid) product.  While it has some vegetable products in there, there is the addition of acid fruits and citric acid.  Otherwise, if it were high pH (low acid), it could be a bigger risk..particularly from organisms like Clostridium botulinum.

 Label, Gerber Organics Carrots, Apples and Mangoes

FDA Recall Notice
Gerber is Voluntarily Recalling Two Batches of GERBER® Organic 2ND FOODS® Pouches Due to a Packaging Defect That May Result in Product Spoilage

Monday, March 21, 2016

Chipotle Hires Food Safety Expert, Back on Some Food Safety Initiatives

Chipotle's food safety issues make for a great case study.  The company has finally hired a food safety expert (should have learned this from the Jack-in-the-Box E. coli Outbreak).  Additionally, they are  backing off on some of the corrective actions they stated they were going to implement.   Some were probably not really needed or may have had too much impact on the quality of the product.  But that is what happens when poop-hits-the-fan and a whole host of consultants are brought in to fix the situation.

Market Watch
Chipotle taps KSU professor for food-safety post
 By Jesse Newman
Published: Mar 15, 2016 4:32 p.m. ET

Impact of Food Safety Issues on Chipotle Bigger than Expected

The impact of food safety issues on Chipotle have been much more than expected.  They estimate that 7% of customers may never return.  Then there are the "costs to address food safety, increased staffing needed to serve free food and the volume of fresh produce wasted due to lower traffic and testing were all higher than expected."  Chipotle shares are still off 28% from last year.

Wall Street Journal
Chipotle Food-Safety Problems May Cost It Up To 7% of Customers: CFO
1:13 pm ET
Mar 17, 2016 
By Maxwell Murphy    

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Canned tuna recalled due to under-processing issue

Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea 5oz canned tuna are both being recalled due to improper processing. The specific lot codes for each brand were produced in the same facility in Georgia.  The situation may have resulted in under-processing thus leading to spoilage or pathogen growth, namely Clostridium botulinum, the causative agent of botulism.  The issue was discovered during routine inspection.

Label, Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna in Water
Label, Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water

FDA Recall Notice
Tri-Union Seafoods LLC Issues Precautionary, Voluntary Recall on Select 5 oz. Canned Chunk Light Tuna in Oil and 5 oz. Canned Chuck Light Tuna in Water
For Immediate Release
March 17, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

Dietary Tea Product Recalled After Ingredient Tested Positive for Salmonella

An Arizona company is recalling its dietary powdered tea product after notification was received from their ingredient supplier of organic spinach powder had tested positive for Salmonella.

No illnesses have been reported.

So why is there spinach powder in tea? 

FDA Recall Notice
Awareness Voluntary Recalls Boost Tea Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination
For Immediate Release
March 11, 2016

Consumers - Awareness Corp.  (480) 615-3530 X556

Awareness Corp. of Mesa, AZ, is recalling its 7.4 ounce container of Boost Tea because it may be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream area and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.

FSMA Food Safety Requirements for Transportation Coming Soon

The final rule for food safety requirements for transportation are coming on March 31st with implementation due in 2017.

While the transportation industry is probably doing much of what will be required, the requirements for documentation will be the biggest change.
The main focuses will be on:
  • Written procedures
  • Temperature control and its documentation, including pre-cooling of truck for refrigerated loads.
  • Training - the final rule will state what will be required to meet the training requirement.
  • Truck cleanliness
  • Record transfer and maintenance

Fleet Owner
New food safety rules pose impact for refrigerated carriers
Final rule due March 31, with enforcement to begin in 2017.
Mar 14, 2016Sean Kilcarr | Fleet Owner

Refrigerated carriers face a bevy of new mandates governing not only the condition and operation of equipment used transport foodstuffs but the capture and preservation of shipment temperatures, along with driver training requirements, due to go into effect March 31.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Frozen Dinners and Pizza Products Recalled for Potential Contamination with Glass Pieces

Nestle is recalling frozen dinners and pizza products that spinach because that spinach may have had glass pieces.  The products are under the DiGiorno®, Lean Cuisine®, and Stouffer’s® brands.
This appears to be a supplier related issue.  Unfortunately, so many national brands were affected.  This is a great example of how a single supplier source of a somewhat minor ingredient can a huge impact. 
FDA News Release
NestlĂ© USA Announces Voluntary Recall of a Limited Number of DiGiorno® Pizzas, Lean Cuisine® and Stouffer’s® Products Due to the Potential Presence of Foreign Material

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Chicken Nuggets Recalled for Small Clear Plastic Pieces

 Purdue Foods is recalling 4500 lbs of chicken nuggets after receiving complaints of  "small, solid, clear plastic inside the Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets".  There have not been any reports of adverse effects.

USDA News Release
Perdue Foods LLC, Recalls Chicken Nugget Products Due To Possible Foreign Matter Contamination

Class I Recall 023-2016
Health Risk: High Mar 5, 2016

Congressional and Public Affairs  Kristen Booze   (202) 720-9113  

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2016 – Perdue Foods LLC, a Gainesville, Ga. establishment, is recalling approximately 4,530 pounds of chicken nugget products (produced for Applegate Farms) that may be contaminated with extraneous plastic materials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Apple Sauce Pouches Recalled due to Goop in the Processing Pumps

Materne North America is recalling their GoGo squeeZ applesauce pouches after our friends at MDARD (Michigan State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development)  discovered  product residue  (also known as 'goop*') in two product pumps, and this may have contaminated product.  This goop can occur if  the system is not adequately cleaned.  While goop can be comprised by many things, it is often rotting product matter with mold, yeast, and/or bacteria as part of the micro flora responsible for the breakdown of that product.

A big concerns is that this product is targeted at children.

*Goop, in this case, is the classic definition - sloppy or sticky semifluid matter, typically something unpleasant.  It is not the commercial product used for skin care.


FDA Recall Notice
Voluntary Recall of Non Organic Gogo Squeez Applesauce Pouches
For Immediate Release
March 4, 2016

Starbucks Supplier Recalls Pre-Packaged Breakfast Sandwiches After Listeria Positive Food Contact Surface

A supplier for Starbucks is recalling pre-packaged breakfast sandwiches after that supplier had  positive sample result on a food contact surface.  While product did not test positive, a positive contact surface indicates the possibility that product could have been cross contaminated.

In assessing the risk, there are a few things to note.  For one, the sandwich is shipped and stored frozen.  While this will prevent growth during shipment,  if the product is thawed and held for a period of days before use, there can be time for the organism to grow.  As the number of organisms increases, this not only increases the chances of organisms surviving a heat treatment, but it also increases the risk of cross-contamination to other foods and food contact surfaces within the store environment as that product is handled.

These sandwich products would be heated by the store before serving, potentially lowering the chance of contamination.  However, with heat-and-serve product,  the heating process may not be controlled well enough or be hot enough to ensure complete destruction of the organism.

The next question will be on how good the facility's Listeria Control Program is.  If the program is good and this happens to be an outlier, than this recall may be it.  But if FDA finds little testing results to indicate a solid program, or they find a series of positive results with insufficient corrective action, they believe there is a higher risk and then push for additional recalls.

Sandwiches Recalled from Starbucks Stores Over Listeria Concerns
Mar 7 2016, 2:03 pm ET
by Lucy Bayly

A food supplier has recalled pre-packaged sausage, egg, and cheddar cheese on English muffin breakfast sandwiches from Starbucks stores in Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma over concerns that the products may contain traces of listeria.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Orangegate - Packaging of Pre-Peeled Oranges

Whole Foods took some criticism for selling pre-peeled oranges in plastic packaging.  A person's tweet went viral stating “If only nature would find a way to cover these oranges so we didn’t need to waste so much plastic on them.”  Whole Foods quickly discontinued sale.

Not only does it create waste, but removing one of the best food safety packages around, the orange peel, the product becomes more susceptible to contamination.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Moldy Sippy Cup Lids..What About Drinking Bottles?

News reports of moldy sippy cup lids have parents concerned.  And rightly so.  High levels of mold can lead to allergic responses in children.   The issue is that liquid seeps into the areas that are hard or impossible to clean.  This can be a big issue with juices or milk that have the nutrients to be able to support mold or bacterial growth.  Additionally, juices can be sticky, making cleaning more difficult.

Sippy cups are not the only types of cups that have multi-component lids.  Many of the fancy water bottles used by adults and children have these multicomponent lids.  It would be interesting to see if anyone has torn apart these lids.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Maytag Cheese Recall Expanded to 35 Production Lots

 Maytag Dairy is expanding their cheese recall to a new total of 35 lots. 
Their first recall on February 14th was for 1 lot after testing found a Listeria was found during routine testing.  Then a recall announcement on February 19th, expanded the recall to 5 lots.  Then on the February 26nd, the recall was expanded to 35 lots.

FDA Recall Notice
Maytag Dairy Farms Expands Voluntary Recall Of Blue Cheese Products Due To Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
February 26, 2016