By: James Peacock

Each week, we look at various recalls that were recently issued. These recalls will often occur for a variety of reasons, including: misbranding, allergen contamination, or foodborne illness pathogen contamination. This week, though, recalls were issued because of allergen contamination, mainly for milk or peanut contamination. The recall system implemented by the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is the first line of defense against illness outbreaks. By tracking recalls, consumers can help prevent contracting illnesses from recalled foods. The recalls, which affected cinnamon twists, swai, hot sauce, beef ravioli, chicken products, and beef products, are listed below.

Undeclared Milk

On June 24, 2017, a recall was issued by Maxi Canada, Inc. The Quebec, Canada-based company issued the recall for breaded chicken products because there were undeclared allergens used in the products. The chicken products were made between June 1, 2016 and June 1, 2017. Sixteen products, all containing undeclared milk, are subject to the recall. These products were shipped to retail locations nationwide. A full list of recalled products and identifying information can be found here. All recalled products bear the establishment number 348 inside the Canadian Food Inspection Agency mark of inspection. No adverse reactions have been connected to this recall. The recall was issued after Maxi Canada was notified by its breadcrumb supplier that there might be a milk contamination. Although the recall notice does not confirm this, there is a chance that the recall is connected to the growing list of recalls associated with a breadcrumb supplier.

One day prior, another recall was issued because of milk contamination. The Wornick Company recalled more than 61,000 pounds of beef ravioli products after an ingredient supplier notified them that there was a potential allergen contamination. Fourteen and a half ounce plastic bowls of Sam’s Choice Asian Style Beef Wonton Ravioli were recalled. The products are labeled with “BEST IF USED BY” dates of Feb. 22, 2018 and Mar. 28, 2018. These ravioli were produced on February 22 and March 28, 2017, and were shipped to retailers nationwide. The USDA mark of inspection on recalled products will have the number EST. 19076 inside it. Although unconfirmed, the ravioli was recalled because of an ingredient being contaminated with milk, making it likely that this is another recall associated with milk contamination. That series of recalls has already caused one recall for ravioli products. No illnesses have been linked to this recall, and it is recommended that consumers dispose of any recalled products in their possession to prevent illness.

On June 20, Channel Fish Processing Co. issued a recall expansion that affected more products than the original recall, which took place on June 16. An extra 350 pounds of breaded Swai fillets were added to the recall. The added fillets were produced on February 6, 2017. The original recall included 840 pounds of swai fillets produced February 22, March 20, and May 2, 2017. Product names and identifying information can be found in the table below. Recalled items were shipped to various institutional locations in Indiana. Both recalls were caused by a June 14 notification sent to Channel Fish Processing Co. by a supplier that stated that bread coatings used in the swai were contaminated with milk. There have not been any illnesses connected with this recall.

Product Name Size Lot Code Date Code
Channel Brand APPROX 4OZ RAW BREADED SWAI FILLETS 10 pounds 22739 17037
Channel Brand APPROX 8OZ RAW BREADED SWAI FILLETS 10 pounds 22740 17037
North Atlantic BRAND APPROX 8OZ RAW BREADED SWAI FILLET 10 pounds 23445 17122
North Atlantic BRAND APPROX 4OZ RAW BREADED SWAI FILLET 10 pounds 23114 17079
Channel Brand APPROX 4OZ RAW BREADED SWAI FILLET 10 pounds 22888 17053

An allergy alert was issued by Kabir’s Bakery on June 19. The Brooklyn, New York, based bakery recalled two products: Kabir’s Bakery Cinnamon Twist and Kabir’s Bakery Cinnamon Raisin Danish. Both products are encased in four-ounce plastic packages. All container codes are under recall because of the potential milk contamination. Recalled cinnamon twist and Danish products were distributed to retail stores throughout New York City. Routine sampling done by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Market inspectors revealed that the Cinnamon Twists did contain milk. The Raisin Danishes were also found to contain milk. Neither product label had declared the milk. No allergic reactions have been reported in relation to this recall.

Peanut Contamination

Fat Cat brand Purry-Purry Sauce Hot Sauce was recalled on June 20 because of a potential peanut contamination. These hot sauce products were shipped to Winn-Dixie Supermarkets, BI-LO Supermarkets, and Harvey’s Supermarkets in the Southeastern United States. The 464 total stores that carried the recalled hot sauce can be found in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Louisiana. A list of specific stores affected by the recall can be obtained by called (407) 927-1771. The recall was initiated by Fat Cat Gourmet Foods after they were notified by an ingredient supplier, Woodland Foods, that the peri-peri peppers used in the hot sauce could have been contaminated with peanuts. The Fat Cat Purry-Purry Sauce Hot Sauce subject to recall is contained in 5 ounces glass bottles. Recalled products are also marked with the lot number FCPPMAY092019. Only one lot of products is affected. No allergic reactions have been reported in relation to this recall.

Undeclared Allergens

Allergen contamination in foods is slightly different than foodborne illness pathogens, but is no less dangerous. Rather than causing a bout of illness, exposure to allergens will trigger an allergic reaction. 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. Health officials often classify the “Big 8” allergens as eggs, fish, milk, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat. The severity of the reaction will also depend on the person. The effects of an allergic reaction can range from a rash to deadly pulmonary issues. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include itchiness, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, and cramps. More severe allergic reactions will sometimes 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 of Anaphylaxis, 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.