Recalls and Alerts: March 13 – 17, 2019

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Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

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United States

OUTBREAK ALERT/FOOD SAFETY RECALL: CDC reports six confirmed cases of Salmonella Schwarzengrund infections linked to Butterball brand Ground Turkey. Illnesses have been reported in Wisconsin (4 residents of an assisted living facility), Minnesota (1) and North Carolina (1). The outbreak strain was recovered from intact packages of Butterball raw, ground turkey found at the Wisconsin assisted living facility. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Allergy Alert: Surtidoras Bakery Inc. recalls Marble Muffin (sell by dates between 3/18/19 and 3/26/19), Banana Muffin (sell by dates between 3/19/19 and 3/26/19), and Blueberry Muffin (sell by dates between 3/18/19 and 3/26/19) due to undeclared milk.

Food Safety Recall: Procesadora La Hacienda, Inc. recalls Productos La Hacienda ready-to-eat corned beef products (10-lb. boxes containing two 5-lb. packages; Lot #022819; Expiration date 042919) due to foreign matter (pieces of metal) contamination. The recalled product was shipped to institutions in Puerto Rico.

Food Safety Recall: Productos La Aguadillana, Inc. recalls approximately 35,870 pounds of breaded chicken patty products due to foreign matter (pieces of metal) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were shipped to institutions in Puerto Rico.

Food Safety Recall: Hometown Food Company recalls Pillsbury® Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (5-lb bags; Lot codes 8 292 & 8 293; Best if used by APR 19 2020 and APR 20 2020, respectively; UPC 0 5150022241 6) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall: Monogram Meat Snacks, LLC recalls approximately 191,928 pounds of ready-to-eat pork sausage products that may be adulterated due to possible product tampering. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products, which were shipped to retailers nationwide.

Canada

Food Safety Recall: Out of the Blue Fish & Seafood Market recalls Bottled bar clams (All units sold from October 1, 2018 up to and including February 28, 2019) due to risk for growth of Clostridium botulinum. The recalled products were sold at Out of the Blue Fish & Seafood Market, 1A The Square, Bayfield, Ontario.

Europe

Allergy Alert (Denmark): IKEA A/S recalls SÖTSAK SKUMTOPP Soft marshmallow covered in chocolate-flavored coating (180g; Lot #100000055; Best before 12-03-2019 to 18-04-2019) due to undeclared milk.

Allergy Alert (Italy): Zorbas recalls Tzatziki Zorbas Salsa tradizionale a base di yogurt greco (200g; Lot #180219; Best before 04/05/2019) due to undeclared milk, eggs and wheat.

Allergy Alert (Italy): IKEA recalls SÖTSAK SKUMTOPP Soft marshmallow covered in chocolate-flavored coating (180g; Lot #100000055; Best before 12-03-2019 to 18-04-2019) due to undeclared milk.

Allergy Alert (Netherlands): IKEA recalls SÖTSAK SKUMTOPP Soft marshmallow covered in chocolate-flavored coating (180g; Lot #100000055; Best before 12-03-2019 to 18-04-2019) due to undeclared milk.

Allergy Alert (UK – England and Wales specific): Lewis Pies Ltd recalls certain batch codes of Traditional Pasty – Lewis Pie and Pasty Co. due to undeclared milk. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected batch codes.

Allergy Alert (UK): Asda recalls Asda Garlic and Parsley Butter (served on fish counter only) due to undeclared peanut.

Allergy Alert (UK): Premier Foods recalls Hovis Granary Bread Flour (1kg; All dates) due to undeclared barley (gluten).

Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Dagrofa aps recalls Blue Ocean smoked trout (200g; Use by 14.03.2019 to 27.03.2019) due to possible Listeria contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Food With You recalls VORES Cold-smoked trout (200g; All use-by dates) due to possible Listeria contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Dry-cake waffle wafers (Lot 31.01.2019) sold in a single Polish bakery in Paris are recalled due to Salmonella and Shigella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Les Délices de la Belle Noë recalls various Roland Denoual brand cooked, ready-to-eat delicatessen meat products due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Fromagerie Anselin recalls Neufchatel AOP Artisan au lait cru raw milk cheese (200g; Best before 31.03.2019) due to shiga-toxin producing E. coli contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): Lidl Deutschland recalls Morbier AOP raw milk cheese (250g; Best before 17.03.2019; Lot #042) due to shiga-toxin producing E. coli contamination.

Food Safety Recall (UK): Drumsticks Products Co Ltd recalls Achva Tahini products due to possible Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

Food Safety Alert (Israel): The Ministry of Health warns the public against consuming products manufactured or sold by HaIdan HaOrgani Ltd., as the products were manufactured under unsanitary conditions and contain ingredients that the ministry is unfamiliar with. The company has been served with an injunction.

Food Safety Recall (Israel): Shufersal recalls Spaghetti Bolognese Shufersal (500g; Expiry 29.3.2019; Manufactured by C.E.P Mevo Horon Ltd.) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Unwashed poppy seeds under fire on Capitol Hill and around the world

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This story by Coral Beach first appeared in Food Safety News and is reposted here with permission

A man who has been seeking changes to U.S. law since his son died from morphine intoxication in 2016 expects to see bills filed in April. His son wasn’t using drugs. It was unwashed poppy seeds, bought on Amazon.com and brewed as tea, that killed him.

The draft legislation expected to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in early April. It would establish the definition of unwashed poppy seeds as “poppy seeds that have not been processed to adequately remove poppy straw, latex, or other contaminants that may contribute to levels of morphine, codeine, or other compounds that pose a potential risk to health.”   

If approved by Congress and signed into law by the president, the Act will make unwashed poppy seeds an adulterant, meaning it would be illegal to sell them or any foods or beverages that contain them.

Hacala’s father, Steve Hacala, is pleased about the movement on Capitol Hill. He was similarly pleased when Walmart pulled unwashed poppy seeds from it’s shelves after his son’s death. He’s not pleased that online entities such as Amazon continue to sell various brands of unwashed poppy seeds. The seeds’ labels make a variety unfounded claims about health benefits.

Investigators determined those labeling claims were behind the death of Stephen Patrick Hacala Jr.  

“Law enforcement authorities were confounded by the cause of death. There was no evidence of trauma and no evidence of drugs in Stephen’s apartment. The presence, however, of a partially used five-pound bag of poppy seeds and a water bottle containing some of the wet seeds raised suspicion,” according to a letter U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton sent to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in Aug. 2018.

“Upon further review and research of Stephen’s Amazon.com purchases of poppy seeds, it was later determined that the unwashed poppy seeds killed Stephen. Stephen had purchased the seeds in order to make so-called poppy seed tea, presumably to achieve the calming effect that Amazon.com online reviews explain to online consumers. An autopsy revealed that Stephen in fact died from morphine intoxication.” 

The timing of the action in the U.S. capital coincidently comes as French officials are warning the public there to not consume baguettes and ready-made sandwiches made with poppy seed bread.  

The officials issued the alert after employees at French companies tested positive for opiates. The workers were adamant that they hadn’t taken any drugs, according to news reports. Tests confirmed poppy seeds in bread they had eaten contained particularly high amounts of alkaloids. 

The road to the rule of law

In April 2018 the elder Hacala and his wife Betty traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with FDA officials. The couple urged the officials to crackdown on poppy seed sales. 

In July 2018 Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wrote to executives of several online sales operations, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, urging them to remove unwashed poppy seeds from their offerings. As of March 15 this year, unwashed poppy seeds continue to be available on Amazon and other websites. 

In August 2018 Rutledge wrote to the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration asking that the agency adopt regulations requiring poppy seeds to be labeled according to their “potentially harmful contents and to prohibit the sale of poppy seeds that contain controlled substances.”

“Poppy seeds are sometimes used as an ingredient in baking products in the United States. Washed and prepared in the proper way, they are appropriate for consumption,” Rutledge said in the letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

“If sold ‘unwashed,’ however, the seeds have the potential to cause unexpected intoxication, illness, and death. This is because the opium poppy plant contains a latex at the point where poppy seeds are extracted. This latex also contains morphine, codeine, and thebaine — all deadly controlled substances. When prepared for consumption, poppy seeds are washed and processed in order to remove trace amounts of these substances from the seeds. But in the unwashed, natural, or raw state, the poppy seeds are dangerous.”

The variable toxicity of unwashed poppy seeds combined with the internet have made for a dangerous situation for consumers around the world, Bill Marler said. One pot of tea made from the seeds might not have any negative effect, but the next one could kill you.

“Amazon is still selling this stuff. Essentially a Schedule 1 drug is being sold over the counter,” said Marler, who has specialized in representing victims of food poisoning since the deadly 1993 E. coli outbreak traced to Jack in the Box hamburgers.

Raw turkey products linked to second Salmonella outbreak

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Butterball is recalling 39 tons of raw ground turkey products that may be contaminated with Salmonella Schwarzengrund. The recalled products were shipped to institutional and retail locations nationwide.

5 confirmed illnesses in Wisconsin and Minnesota

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state of Wisconsin have confirmed five cases of Salmonella illness, four of them in Wisconsin and one in neighboring Minnesota.

The four Wisconsin outbreak victims were residents of a single assisted living facility, according to a spokesperson with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Outbreak strain found in Butterball samples

Three intact packages of Butterball ground turkey were obtained from the Wisconsin residence of that state’s outbreak victims. The strain of Salmonella Schwarzengrund recovered from the ground turkey was closely related, genetically, to the strain recovered from the patients.

List of recalled items

The following recalled raw ground turkey products were produced on July 7, 2018 and bear establishment number “EST. P-7345” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (85% LEAN/15% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188, and UPC codes 22655-71555 or 22655-71557 represented on the label.
  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (93% LEAN/7% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC code 22655-71556 represented on the label.
  • 16-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (85% LEAN/15% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC code 22655-71546 represented on the label.
  • 16-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “BUTTERBALL everyday Fresh Ground Turkey WITH NATURAL FLAVORING (93% LEAN/7% FAT)” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC codes 22655-71547 or 22655-71561 represented on the label
  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “Kroger GROUND TURKEY FRESH 85% LEAN – 15% FAT” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188, and UPC code 111141097993 represented on the label.
  • 48-oz. plastic wrapped tray containing “FOOD LION 15% fat ground turkey with natural flavorings” with sell or freeze by date of 7/26/18, lot code 8188 and UPC code 3582609294 represented on the label.

2018 Salmonella Reading outbreak also linked to raw turkey products

CDC is continuing to monitor an earlier outbreak of multi-drug resistant Salmonella Reading illnesses, also linked to raw turkey products. As of the last report, 279 cases have been confirmed from 41 states and the District of Columbia.

One person has died, and 107 have been hospitalized.

An additional 72 illnesses linked to this same outbreak have been reported by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The illnesses have prompted several product recalls in the US and Canada, including two brands of raw pet food in additional to food for human consumption.

What consumers need to know about Salmonella

  • The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days.
  • Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness.
  • Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

What consumers need to know about the recalled products

  • Do not consume any of the recalled products and do not offer it to your pets.
  • Check your refrigerator and freezer for any recalled products.
  • Discard all recalled products in a protected container (such as a trash bin with a secure  lid) so that children and animals can not access the contaminated food.