By: Heather Williams

Each week UnsafeFoods provides an up to date list of recalled products gathered from multiple sources including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other sources.  We help you identify the food products in your pantry that might be affected.  These recalls are often placed into two categories: undeclared allergens and health alerts.

Last week was a light week for undeclared recalls.  We’ve found undeclared allergens in chocolate products from two different companies.  One contains peanuts not disclosed on the label and the other contains milk that is not disclosed on the label.

Health alerts are issued for food products that may cause harm if consumed.  This week the FDA issued an alert for baby water.

Undeclared Allergen

An undeclared allergen recall is initiated when a company identifies a product containing a known allergen is packaged without indicating the presence of that allergen.  This can be a result of an ingredient recall, mispackaging the product, or a lapse in protocol.  Regardless how the error occurs, consequences can be serious if not fatal, so a recall is initiated.  People with allergies or severe sensitivities rely on manufacturers to appropriately label packages so that they can make informed decisions that will impact their health.

Virginia Diner, Inc.: Chocolate Covered Cashews, 10 ounce Cans

Virginia Diner, Inc. issued a voluntary recall on November 28, 2017 for their 10 ounce cans of Plow & Hearth Chocolate Covered Cashews at Plow & Hearth’s locations and online through mail order due to the undeclared allergen, peanut.  Those with an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts risk serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume the product.

The error was discovered by a customer who had purchased and opened a Cashew Tower Set, which included three individual cashew tins, to discover that one of the 10 ounce cans of Chocolate Covered Cashews in fact contained salted peanuts instead.  Products that are not labeled with this lot information and display CCC (indicating Chocolate Covered Cashews) are properly labeled and not included in this recall.

The only product included in the recall is for the specific product and lot code and no other products made by Plow & Hearth or lots are affected by this recall:
UPC Code:  085582089193
Weight: 10 oz
Package Type:  Can
Label:  Plow & Hearth Chocolate Covered Cashews
Lot Code:  100917 XLSP
BEST BY:  10 04 18

The Chocolate Covered Cashews sold in the affected Cashew Towers were sold to and distributed to Plow & Hearth catalogs at and retail stores between October 25, 2017 and November 17, 2017.

No illness has been reported associated with this recall.

Virginia Diner and Plow & Hearth urge customers who purchased Cashew Towers from either the Plow & Hearth catalogs or Plow & Hearth Store to return cans with Lot Code 100917 XLSP to a Plow & Hearth store or to Plow & Hearth’s corporate office located in Madison, Virginia for a replacement product.

Consumers with questions regarding this recall should contact Virginia Diner at 866-296-6887 Monday through Friday between 9:00AM and 5:00PM EDT.

Farrel Farms, Inc.: Dark Chocolate Covered Nut Varieties

Farrell Farms, Inc. of Goldsboro, North Carolina issued a recall on 7 ounce packages of Dark Chocolate Almonds, 7 ounce packages of Dark Chocolate Cashews, and 7 ounce packages of Dark Chocolate Pecans on November 29, 2017 due to the undeclared allergen, milk.  Those with an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk risk serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if the product is consumed.

The Dark Chocolate Almonds, Dark Chocolate Cashews, and Dark Chocolate Pecans were distributed in North Carolina and sold at fairs and festivals as well as on the company’s website between October 16, 2017 and November 17, 2017.

The package can be identified as packaged in a clear, cellophane heat-sealed package labeled as Farrell Farms with the address 200 Gin Road, Goldsboro, NC 27530.  The format for the retail units of each product: almond, cashew, and pecan are similar across all products.

The recall was initiated in response to notification from the supplier, Dutch Valley Food Distributors, Inc of Myerstown, Pennsylvania.  This notification was given on November 18, 2017 and indicated that the chocolate raw material Farrell Farms used to coat various nut products was being recalled due to undeclared milk product.

No illness has been reported associated with this recall.  Customers who have purchased the products are urged to return them to where they were purchased for a full refund.  Questions may be directed to the company at 1-919-583-4366 on Monday through Saturday between 8:00AM and 5:00PM EST.

Health Alert

A health alert is issued when a product poses a serious threat to human health if consumed.  This can be a potential pathogen present or even a mechanical contamination where a non-food item may contaminate a food product.  This week a baby water may be contaminated and is being recalled.

Kroger/Comforts: For Baby Purified Water with Fluoride

The FDA issued an alert for the recall of Comforts FOR BABY Purified Water with Fluoride on December 4, 2017.  This product is intended for consumption by infants.  Specific sale by dates sold by Kroger in various affiliated stores is being recall due to potential mold contamination.  Consumption may cause serious illness.

The recall was issued after consumer complaints and subsequent testing by Kroger identified contamination with the mold Talaromyces penicillium.  This contamination may not be visible with the naked eye, so even if the product looks clear it may still be unsafe for consumption.

The specific product being recalled refers to Comforts FOR BABY Purified Water with Fluoride Added, 1 GAL (3.78 L) with a sell by date ranging from 4/26/2018 through 10/10/2018.  The product was distributed to Kroger stores and affiliates including: Food 4 Less, Jay C, Jay C Food Plus, Kroger, Kroger Marketplace, Owen’s, Payless Super Market, and Ruler stores in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.  Each store was instructed to remove the recalled products.

The product can be identified as being labeled with UPC Code 0 41260 37597 2 and plant code 51-4140.  The labels also state “DISTRIBUTED BY THE KROGER CO, CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202” and has a sell by date that ranges from 4/26/2018 – 10/10/2018.

Consumers are urged to return the product to the store for a refund.

Symptoms of exposure to molds and Talaromyces penicillium include allergic responses such as hay fever-type symptoms (sneezing, red eyes, sneezing, and skin rash).  Generally allergic reaction occurs immediately after touching or inhaling mold spores, but could occur later after exposure.  Molds may also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma or allergic to molds.  Even if you are not allergic to mold, exposure can irritate eyes, nose, throat, skin, and lungs.  Infants with compromised immune systems such as HIV or other conditions affecting the immune system are at higher risk.  If you believe your infant may be affected, consult your health care professional

Drinking water or other products contaminated with Talaromyces penicillium may affect infants who have HIV or other conditions that cause immune compromise. These individuals may become infected and this may lead to serious health consequences. Consult your health care professional if you believe your infant may be affected.

The FDA encourages consumers that have questions about food safety to contact 1-888-SAFEFOOD on Monday through Friday between 10:00AM and 4:00PM EST or consult