By: James Peacock

For about the last week, there have been a series of important, large, and wide ranging recalls. These recalls have impacted a variety of products, ranging from potato chips to brownies, and hash browns to soup. The causes of these recalls are just as wide ranging, from Salmonella bacteria to even golf balls. Let’s take a more detailed look at these recalls.

Salmonella

On April 20, 2017, in one of the largest recalls from the last week, Conagra Brands, Inc. recalled more than 110,000 pounds, or 55 tons, of product. Specifically, this recall affected breaded chicken nugget meal trays sold under the Banquet brand name. The trays contain breaded chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and chocolate brownies. The cause of the contamination is considered to be brownies, but the trays as a whole should be considered contaminated. Products affected by the recall include 7.4 ounce vacuum packed trays that are marked with a code of 3100080921. These products have a BEST IF USED BY date of July 26, 2018. The trays, which are marked with the FSIS establishment number “P-9” on the side of the box, and were shipped to retail locations across the nation. No illnesses have been linked to this recall as of yet.

One day later, on April 21, Frito-Lay announced that they were issuing a recall that affected a couple of their potato chip products. Both Jalapeño Flavored Lay’s Kettle Cooked potato chips and Jalapeño Flavored Miss Vickie’s Kettle Cooked potato chips are affected by this recall. The seasoning used for both of these varieties may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. All bags of chips from those varieties with a “guaranteed fresh” date on or before July 4 are under recall. Also, several types of multipack options are also being recalled. These multipacks, including 12 count Lay’s Kettle Cooked Multipack Sack, 20 count Frito-Lay Bold Mix Sack, 30 count Miss Vickie’s Multipack Tray, 30 count Lay’s Kettle Cooked Multipack Tray, and 32 count Miss Vickie’s Multipack Box, are under recall if they have a “guaranteed fresh” date on or before June 20. No other varieties of potato chip are being recalled at this time. No illnesses have been connected to this recall.

Salmonella bacteria cause an illness in humans called Salmonellosis. Salmonellosis is one of the most common sources of foodborne illness in the United States, where the CDC estimates that 1.2 million cases of Salmonella poisoning take place each year. A Salmonella infection, after a 12 to 72 hour incubation period, will produce symptoms including fever, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Those with certain risk factors, including children, the elderly, and those with suppressed immune systems are at an increased risk of developing a serious Salmonella infection. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of Salmonella poisoning, contact a medical professional.

 Non-edible Item Contamination

 On April 20, HEB issued a voluntary recall that affected several different types of bread sold under the Hill Country and HEB brand names. Bread with a best by date of April 29 or earlier is being recalled because a piece of rubber was found in one of the products. Although this was considered to be an isolated incident, HEB has issued the recall out of an abundance of caution. These products were shipped to HEB locations in several states, but bread purchased in San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo, and Corpus Christi is not affected by the recall. A full list of recalled products and information about them can be found here. No illnesses have been connected to this recall.

In perhaps one of the more interesting recalls from the last week, McCain Foods USA, Inc. issued a recall for Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns. The reason for the recall is what sets this recall apart from the others. The hash brown products are being recalled because bits of golf balls have been found in the product. Products impacted by the recall include Roundy’s Brand Bag of Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns and Harris Teeter Brand Bag of Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns. These products have the UPC codes of 001115055019 and 07203649020, respectively. Roundy’s products were distributed to retail locations such as Marianos, Metro market, and Pick ‘n Save in Illinois and Wisconsin. Harris Teeter products were distributed to various retail locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, and Maryland. No illnesses have been reported in relation to this recall.

Allergens

 Campbell Soup Company, of Maxton, North Carolina, issued a recall on April 22. More than 4,000 pounds of chicken soup products. These products are considered to be misbranded because the products contain milk. In this case, the wrong product was filled into the labeled cans, leaving consumers surprised to find Italian Style Wedding Spinach & Meatballs in Chicken Broth in a can that was labeled to contain chicken with whole grain pasta. Milk is considered to be an allergen, meaning that companies are required to disclose them on all product labels. Only one product is under recall, 18.6 ounce cans of Campbell’s Home-style Healthy Request Chicken with Whole Grain Pasta. Recalled products are labeled with the Best By date of Feb 13, and were distributed to retail locations across the nation. More information can be found here. No illnesses have been linked to this recall.

Allergens are different than most causes of foodborne issues in that while exposure to bacteria or a virus may lead to the development of illness, exposure to allergens triggers an allergic reaction. These reactions can come in the form of itchiness, cramps, shortness of breath, and difficulty swallowing. In rare cases, an allergic reaction can cause a side effect called anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. Pretty much everything could be a potential allergen, but there are some items that more commonly cause issues, such as wheat, gluten, eggs, milk, pine nuts, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and sesame. Because allergies to those allergens are common, the FDA requires all items containing them to be marked as such. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of an allergic reaction, contact a medical professional. If a person appears to be suffering from anaphylaxis, you may need to use an Epi-pen to calm their symptoms before help arrives.

 

Sources:

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/news-releases-statements-transcripts/news-release-archives-by-year/archive/2017/pha-042017

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm554447.htm

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm554393.htm

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm554452.htm