By: James Peacock

Each week, we take a look at the recalls that have affected a variety of food items. These recalls can happen for a myriad of reasons. This past week or so, recalls have been initiated for reasons including undeclared allergens and various other foreign object contaminations. As a consumer, it is very important to keep an eye on the recalls that come out, as the recall system is one of the best ways to prevent infection. These items, though they will be pulled from store shelves, can often still be found in the homes of consumers. Some of these items, especially frozen items, have long shelf lives, meaning that they can cause infection long after the recall has been announced. There was one major food recall last week, initiated by Smucker Foods, which we covered here.

Undeclared Allergens

To start things off, on June 1 an allergy alert was issued by Schnucks Bakery because their Cinnamon Pudding Half Cakes and Cake Slices contain walnuts, an ingredient that was not declared on the label. The St. Louis, Missouri establishment distributed the products to 100 different Schnucks retail locations in five different states: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The alert was issued after a consumer brought the mislabeling to the bakery’s attention. Three different products were affected by the alert. The first, Schnucks Bakery Half Cinnamon Pudding Cake, can be identified by the UPC code 2-52594-20399-6. The second product is Schnucks Bakery Cinnamon Pudding Cake Slice, is marked with the UPC code 2-52584-00199-1. Product number three, Schnucks Bakery Sliced Pudding Cake Tray, is labeled with the UPC code 2-52680-50999-5. All three products affected will be marked with sell-by dates, and all sell by dates up to and including June 12 are subject to the recall. Schnucks has encouraged consumers who have mislabeled products to return them to the stores for a full refund. No adverse health reactions have been reported in relation to this allergy alert.

Another allergy alert was issued regarding Taste of Inspirations Greek Pasta Salad because the product contains milk, a known allergen. These pasta salads were produced by A.S.K. foods, Inc., a Palmyra, Pennsylvania facility, and were sold at Hannaford Supermarkets in several states. The products were distributed to Hannaford Supermarket locations in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The recalled products were packaged in 10 ounce plastic containers, pictured above. They are marked with the UPC code 25439 98423. The label of the recalled products is also marked with “SELL BY: 6-5-17 3649-1” The SELL BY date is located on the top label, while the UPC code is on the bottom label. The reasoning for the alert is the result of the label for another Taste of Inspirations product, Classic Red Skin Potato Salad, being mistakenly printed on the Greek Pasta Salad products. No adverse reactions to this product have been reported.

Allergens pose just as much risk as foodborne illnesses, but are quite different. Rather than causing a bout of illness, allergens trigger an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction can occur when someone who is allergic to an item is exposed to it. Allergies can be caused by anything from animals and dust to food and medicine. There is a myriad of foods that can cause an allergic reaction, but the most common are wheat, gluten, eggs, milk, pine nuts, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and sesame. The severity of the reaction will also depend on the person, as they can range from a rash to deadly pulmonary issues. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include itchiness, cramps, shortness of breath, and difficulty swallowing. If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from an allergic reaction, it is important to get them medical help as soon as possible. Allergic reactions will sometimes, depending on the severity, develop into Anaphylaxis, which is potentially life-threatening. Many people with severe allergies may carry an Epi-pen with them. This concentrated shot of epinephrine will help counteract some of the symptoms, but it is only temporary. If an Epi-pen is needed, the next thing to do is to get the affected person to a hospital immediately. Instructions for how to use an Epi-pen can be found here.

Adulteration and Foreign Matter Contamination

On May 27, Readfield Meats, Inc. issued a recall for more than 45,000 pounds of beef trimming products due to the fact that it might be adulterated. The products were sold by Ruffino Meats & Food Service, which is an establishment in Bryan, Texas. Adulteration, in this case, deals with whether or not the products were properly put through the processing required to eliminate any bacterial contamination. The product labels include a “For Cooking Only” warning. Because the products were sent to establishments that are not federally inspected, there is a chance that the further processing did not take place, leading to this recall. The frozen raw beef trimmings were made between May 26, 2015 and May 26, 2017. They were packaged in 50 pound boxes, and will contain the establishment number “EST. 13126” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Beef trimmings were sent to individuals, state inspected plants, and retail markets across the state of Texas. There have not been any reported illnesses or other reactions in connection to these products.

P&S Bakery, located in Poland, Ohio, issued a recall of nearly 3000 pounds of pepperoni product after it became clear that they may be contaminated with foreign materials. The specific complaints, relayed to P&S Bakery through one of their distributors, indicated that clear meat casing had been found in the products. Only one product was affected by the recall: Gia Russa brand Double Stuffed Pepperoni Roll Pepperoni & Mozzarella. The beef and pork pepperoni rolls under recall were produced on March 29, 2017. The rolls are packaged individually in 5.25 ounce clear plastic wrapped packages and have the establishment number “EST. 27274” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Only products with the lot/case code 17088 are subject to the recall. Affected rolls were shipped to distributors and retail locations in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. There have not been any reports of illness or adverse reaction caused by these products.