By: James Peacock

Every week we put together a list of the food and drink recalls caused by a variety of things, including foodborne illness pathogens, undeclared allergens, extraneous material contamination, and mislabeling. These recalls are issued by the companies that produce the affected products voluntarily with the help of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These recalls are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing foodborne illness outbreaks. Because these recalled products are often offered to consumers in stores prior to the recall, it is important that both stores and consumers keep track of the recalls as they come out in order to remove the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Listeria monocytogenes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On August 2, Amrita Health Foods announced a recall for protein bars after they were alerted by their supplier that some of their ingredients—sunflower seeds and sunflower seed butter—might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Their supplier, Hudson Valley Farms, has caused quite a few recalls with Listeria contaminated ingredients. There have not been any reports of illness in connection with the recalled products. These bars were sent to retail stores across the country, and were also distributed directly to consumers or online. The products subject to the recall and provided identifying information is depicted below in the table below. No other Amrita products are affected by the recall.

Product Name Size UPC Code Best By dates
Amrita Chocolate Maca Bar 60 grams 853009004056 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
Amrita Dark Chocolate Quinoa 60 grams 853009004438 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
Amrita Sunflower Seed Butter 60 grams 853009004414 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
Amrita Chocolate Chip Coconut 50 grams 853009004391 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
Amrita Mango Coconut 50 grams 853009004018 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
Amrita Apricot Strawberry 50 grams 853009004056 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
Amrita Pineapple Chia 50 grams 853009004025 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
Amrita Apple Cinnamon 50 grams 853009004049 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
Amrita Cranberry Raisin 50 grams 853009004032 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018

Listeria may be one of the less common forms of food poisoning, but is a very dangerous pathogen. The CDC estimates that the bacterium causes about 1600 cases of illness per year. Nearly everyone who is sickened by Listeria bacteria needs to be hospitalized. Listeria poisoning can manifest itself in one of two forms. In those with healthy immune systems, Listeria appears as a gastrointestinal illness, causing symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In some cases though, and especially in the elderly and immunocompromised, Listeria can become invasive, causing headaches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Invasive Listeria is potentially fatal, as it can enter the nervous system and cause meningitis. Pregnant women are also at an increased risk of developing a serious case of Listeria poisoning. Listeria monocytogenes may cause a flu-like infection in pregnant women, but it can lead to miscarriages and stillbirths. The CDC warns that pregnant women are 10 times more likely to get a Listeria infection, putting them at a greater risk.  The symptoms of Listeria poisoning can appear anywhere between 3 and 70 days after the Listeria bacteria are ingested. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of Listeria poisoning, contact a medical professional.

Salmonella

In a second recall caused by the Salmonella outbreak linked to papaya, Agroson’s LLC recalled 2,483 boxes of Maradol Papaya. The brand of papaya listed in the recall is the Cavi brand. The papaya was distributed to wholesalers in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. The products were distributed between July 16 and July 19, and were available for sale until July 31. Recalled papaya can be identified by a sticker that states “cavi MEXICO 4395”. The papaya that they distributed was imported from Carica de Campeche. This recall is merely a precaution, as other brands that have purchased from the same farm have caused Salmonella infections. No cases of illnesses have been specifically connected with Maradol papaya distributed by Agroson’s. The other brand of papaya, Caribeña, was recalled by Grande Produce on July 26 after it was connected to a Salmonella outbreak that has now sickened over 100 people. The FDA will continue to issue recalls as more brands are linked to the outbreak.

Salmonella poisoning is one of the most common causes of gastrointestinal illness in America. The CDC estimates that Salmonella bacteria cause an estimated 1.2 million cases of illness per year. A Salmonella infection usually produces symptoms between 12 and 72 hours after exposure. Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning usually include vomiting, abdominal cramping, fever, and nausea. Typically, an infection will go away on its own within a week, although Salmonella infections may worsen. Those with certain risk factors, including children, the elderly, and those with suppressed immune systems may be at an increased risk of developing a serious case of Salmonella poisoning. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of Salmonella poisoning, contact a medical professional.

Undeclared Allergens

On August 2, the company Fairway, based in New York City, issued a recall for their product, Cookies Blondie. These cookies may have undeclared walnuts, a known allergen. These cookies were distributed to Fairway stores in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The products were also available online. Recalled cookies were packaged in octagon-shaped plastic containers. They weigh 10 ounces. The Item Codes 268492 XXXXXX or 263413 XXXXXX are subject to recall, as well as all Sell by dates. There are no other Fairway products being recalled. There have not been any reports of adverse reactions in relation to this recall.

Commonwealth Dairy, LLC issued a recall on August 2 for Friendly Farms brand Key Lime Crunch Tilts. The products were recalled because they may contain almond pieces. These almonds can cause an allergic reaction in those who have a nut allergy. The yogurt products were distributed to Aldi stores Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and California. They are packaged in a 5.3-ounce plastic cup with two separate compartments, one for yogurt and one for white chocolate and graham pieces. There are two different Best by Dates affected by the recall. The Best by Date AUG/26/2017 04-161 has a Lot number of A8872 XXXX. The Best by Date SEP /22/2017 04-161 has a lot number of A5003 XXXX. The UPC code for all recalled products is 041498239091. There have not been any illnesses connected to recalled yogurt products.

Also on August 2, Bateman announced a recall for various poultry products because they might contain soy. It was discovered on July 31 that soy was not declared as an ingredient on the label, but was found in the products. All of these products were produced between June 30, 2016 and June 27, 2017. The various chicken entrees being recalled are listed in the table below. The products all have the establishment number “EST. P45096” inside the USDA mark of inspection. Institutional locations in Arizona and California received recalled chicken. There have not been any adverse reactions in relation to these products.

Product Name Packaging Lot Codes
Chicken with Herb Sauce Potatoes and Carrots 9.1 ounce plastic 3 compartment trays 17817
14417
10217
08617
05517
04417
00217
36516
35016
32816
30216
27716
24316
22216
18216
Bateman Classics Chicken Fillet with Honey Mustard Sauce, Herbed Quinoa, California Blend Vegetables 9.0 ounce plastic 3 compartment trays 12117
06717
04517
00917
29516
23616
Bateman Classics Chicken Fillet w/ Barbeque Sauce, Roasted Yams, Green Beans 12.8 Ounce plastic 3 compartment trays 14617
08917
01717
35616
Bateman Classics Chicken Breast Fillet with Apricot Sauce Lemon Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts 9.1 plastic 3 compartment trays 11117
06017
01717
35516

Allergen contaminations are different from foodborne illness pathogens but are not any less dangerous. Rather than causing illness, exposure to allergens will trigger an allergic reaction. Allergies can be caused by basically anything, but common sources for allergies include animals, dust, food, and medicines. Different people will often have various allergies, and the severity of the reaction will not be standard from person to person. While nearly anything can potentially cause a food allergy, health officials often classify eggs, fish, milk, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat as the “Big 8” allergens. These eight items are the most common sources of food allergens. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, itchiness, and cramps. More severe allergic reactions will sometimes develop into Anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening complication. Many people with severe allergies will carry an Epi-pen with them. Epi-pens are a concentrated shot of epinephrine that will help counteract some of the symptoms of Anaphylaxis. Its effectiveness is only temporary, though, so it is important to use an Epi-pen as quickly as possible after an anaphylactic allergic reaction takes place. If an Epi-pen is required, it is paramount to get the affected person to a hospital immediately. Instructions for how to properly use an Epi-pen can be found here.

Sources:

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm569811.htm

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm570258.htm

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm569743.htm

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm569808.htm

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2017/recall-087-2017-release

https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/index.html

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anaphylaxis/home/ovc-20307210

https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/index.html

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm568780.htm