Your Recall Hit Parade

July 18, 2009


Sprouts recalled

It’s Friday, so there must be a batch of sprouts being recalled someplace. As a matter of fact, there is. Chang Farm of Whatley, Mass., is recalling soy bean sprouts because of possible Listeria Monocytogenes contamination. The 10-pound and 12-ounce bags, with a sell-by date of July 17, were distributed throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. No illnesses have been reported. Chang Farms issued a similar recall in April of 2008. Additional information

Raisins contain undeclared sulfites


Maya Overseas Foods, Inc., is recalling Maya Overseas Foods Golden Raisins, which are sold in uncoded, 1-pound bags and distributed throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. The raisins contain sulfites which are not listed on the labels. Sulfites can cause severe reactions in people with sulfite sensitivities and asthmatics. Additional information

Plainview recall continues to grow

The Plainview Milk Products Cooperative recall is still in the lead of the ongoing recall race. The Minnesota dairy cooperative issued a recall June 29 of several products going back two years. While none its products – instant nonfat dried milk, whey protein, fruit stabilizers, and gums or thickening agents – were sold directly to consumers, they have been used widely in numerous foods by companies around the United States. As of today, 261 products which included ingredients from Plainview have been recalled, and that number should continue growing for a while. The recalled foods fall into seven categories so far: cake products, candy, drink mixes, instant nonfat dry milk, oatmeal, instant sauces, and toppings. Additional information

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Your Recall Hit Parade

July 11, 2009

Plainview Milk Products recall surpasses 200 products

The Plainview Milk Products Association recall continues, ensnaring more than 200 products so far. After issuing a recall going back two years, this recall – like the one for Peanut Corporation of America earlier this year – will continue to grow, pulling in quite a few different companies. Two weeks ago, Plainview issued a recall for several of its products after one of its customers found traces of Salmonella contamination in a product containing ingredients from Plainview.

Plainview doesn’t sell directly to consumers, but its products – whey protein, milk powder, gums, and fruit stabilizers – are sold to food processors around the country. So far, the most widely recalled product is powdered milk often sold under store brand names. There are plenty of additional foods being pulled in, however: cake mixes, instant sauces, oat meal, and more.  Additional information

JBS Swift recall now includes Costco

The JBS Swift Beef Co. recall continues, as well. The Colorado meat processor has recalled more than 400,000 pounds of whole muscle cuts – the larger cuts from which stores and other processors derive the more familiar, smaller cuts such as chuck roasts or processed foods such as sausage – because of possible contamination with E. coli.  The most recent addition? Costco customers in northern California are being warned that two Morton’s of Omaha products are now on the list: Classic Tri-tip and Rosemary, Garlic and Chardonnay seasoned tri-tip are being recalled. Additional information

Nestlé investigation finds no E. coli in factory or equipment

The Nestlé Toll House cookie dough recall is still underway, as is the investigation at the plant in Danville, Va., where the ready-to-bake cookie dough is made. Nestlé today announced that investigators with the Food and Drug Administration have not found any E. coli contamination in either the plant or the equipment after more than a week of tests.


Nestlé is now planning to do a few production test runs using new batches of flour, margarine, and eggs, according to company spokeswoman, Edie Burge, but no date has been set yet for renewed production. Not yet, anyway. Nestlé has no plans to leave the ready-to-bake cookie dough market, Burge added. Additional information

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Your Recall Hit Parade

July 4, 2009

Dairy recalls two years worth of product

A major recall by a Minnesota dairy cooperative is now beginning to play out across the country. Plainview Milk Products Association last weekend issued a recall for several of its products after one of its customers found traces of Salmonella contamination in a product containing ingredients from Plainview (FDA recall info here). Environmental tests conducted at the Plainview plant by the Food and Drug Administration “found some positive test results for Salmonella” in swabs from “walls, ceilings, floors, and equipment” according to a release from the cooperative. Plainview is recalling product from the last two years of production, as a result.

The company doesn’t sell directly to consumers but, instead, produces whey protein, milk powder, gums, and fruit stabilizers for sale to food makers across the United States. The cooperative also produces fluid milk products, but these are not affected by the recall. Plainview customers who have issued recalls so far include:

  • CPI Foods, which is recalling 15,000 packets of non-fat dry milk distributed to various community service companies in Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia.
  • NOW Foods, a nationwide producer of dietary supplements and natural foods, has recalled 12 of its whey protein products.
  • Stop & Shop Supermarkets, a New England chain, has recalled Stop & Shop Nonfat Dried Milk, which is sold in 5 and 10 packs of 16-ounce and 32-ounce packets, respectively.
  • Traditions, which has recalled ILS Meals Home Delivery Meal Service prepackaged meal kits, and Traditions Meal Solutions prepackaged meal kits. These were distributed nationwide and were made between January 28, 2008, and June 5, 2009. Tradition’s products were distributed to food distributors and regional nutrition service providers.

Pierogis with a little something extra

These dumplings may contain a bit more than you bargained for. Grandma’s Food of Buffalo, N.Y., is recalling more than 200,000 pounds of its frozen pierogies, pelmenis, and other assorted dumplings because they contain Amaranth #2, a dye which has been banned in the United States since 1976. The dumplings were made between June 1 and 5. Additional information


Tuna steaks recalled

New Englanders have been cautioned by the Food and Drug Administration about a bad batch of tuna steaks. North Coast Seafood is recalling tuna steaks sold between June 20 and 24 at Shaw’s, Star Market, and Big Y Stores, located throughout the region. The fish may have high levels of histamine and could cause scombroid poisoning. There were three cases reported by July 1. Additional information

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E. coli found in factory sample of Nestle Toll House dough

June 30, 2009

Investigators with the FDA have found evidence of E. Coli in a package of Nestlé Toll House cookie dough at the company’s Danville, Va., plant.

The discovery comes nearly two weeks after Nestlé USA closed the plant following the news the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control had linked a nationwide outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 with Nestlé’s popular ready-to-bake cookie dough. Nestlé closed its plant the day after it received the information from the government agencies and issued a recall of about 300,000 cases of the product.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Edie Burge, a spokeswoman for Nestlé at its Glendale, Calif., offices.

While obtaining a contaminated sample was key to the investigation, the question of just how E. coli got into the Danville plant has yet to be answered, and investigators will continue their work with further testing, said Burge.

The Danville factory is actually home to production of two Nestlé brands: Toll House cookie dough, and Buitoni, which makes fresh pasta. The Buitoni side of the operations have been unaffected by the contamination and work has continued there. The Toll House plant has been closed for 11 days and its more-than-200 employees are being offered paid time off or shifts in the Buitoni plant as they become available, said Burge.

Sixty-nine people in 29 states have been made ill with E. coli, allegedly as a result of eating raw cookie dough from Nestlé. Forty-six of those ill are confirmed to have the outbreak strain, and 34 persons have been hospitalized. Nine developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure; no one has died.

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Nestlé disputes Wall Street Journal story

June 27, 2009

Nestlé USA is disputing the accuracy of a story that appeared in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. The article, written by health reporter Shirley Wang, reported that Nestlé “refused to give the FDA access to certain records, such as those involving pest-control and consumer complaints, during earlier inspections in recent years”.the_wall_street_journal_logo

Nestlé has been in the midst of a massive recall of its ready-to-bake Toll House cookie dough after the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control found what they believe is a link between the cookie dough and at least 70 cases of E. coli contamination in 30 states around the country. The FDA is still investigating the company’s Danville, Va., plant where Nestlé has suspended production of the ready-to-bake dough until they receive an all-clear.

The inspection in question, however, took place over two days in September, 2006, during which an inspector identified “four objectionable conditions or deficiencies” he felt needed attention, ranging from a few “ant-like insects” in a sugar dumping station, to a leaking pipe. The matters were discussed with a plant supervisor who agreed to take care of the problems, apparently to the inspector’s satisfaction.nestle_logo

At the same inspection, the FDA investigator also requested access to various records, which the FDA’s report says was denied by Nestlé.

“Companies can attempt to make conditions on what they will or will not permit during an inspection,” said Stephanie Kwisnek, a spokesperson for the FDA, “and some companies have a policy that they will outline this for our investigator at the beginning of the inspection. However, by law, they must provide the FDA with access to the records that the agency is entitled to under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and associated regulations.”

The Wall Street Journal story is “very misleading” said Laurie McDonald, a spokeswoman for Nestlé USA. “It looks as if we’re not cooperating and we are.”

The FDA agreed.

“Nestlé is cooperating fully with the FDA in this current inspection and is providing the necessary documentation,” said Kwisnek. “The company is also taking its own sampling, including both product and environmental swabs and is sharing its test results with the FDA.”

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Your Recall Hit Parade

June 27, 2009


41,000 pounds of beef recalled

JBS Swift Beef Co. of Greeley, Colo., has recalled more than 41,000 pounds of various beef products because of possible E. coli contamination but there’s a catch: the beef products recalled were produced back in April and were shipped to distributors and stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. Eleven products are being recalled. The problem was discovered as the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service was testing for samples in an investigation of other products. Additional information

Tortilla chips may contain allergens

Tortilla chips are under recall in Washington State. La Mexicana has recalled Solena tortilla chips because they may contain undeclared allergens: milk and milk products. Solena chips are distributed to restaurants anKowalkesproutsd retails stores throughout Oregon and Washington.  Additional information

Sprouts recalled in SoCal

A California company has recalled three of its products because of possible Salmonella contamination. Kowalke Family Sprouts of Culver City has recalled its alfalfa sprouts, onion sprouts, and dinner salad mix with sell-by dates of June 18-30. Their products are distributed primarily to Gelsen’s and Whole Foods groceries in southern California. Additional information

Ongoing recalls

Pistachio recall
Peanut recall

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No leads yet in E. coli outbreak

June 25, 2009

Investigation at Nestlé’s Virginia plant by FDA continues

Speculation about the possible contamination of a popular brand of ready-to-bake cookie dough with E. coli O157:H7 continues, but so far there have been no leads.

It’s been a week since officials at Nestlé USA, based in Solon, Ohio, learned about a possible link to their Toll House cookie dough in a nationwide outbreak of E. coli. So far, at least 70 people have been sickened in 30 states, and 30 of those people have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Seven of the victims developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure. No one has died.

Nestlé, in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC, is investigating whether their product is the source of the contamination, and just how E. coli may have ended up in their product. They issued a full recall of 300,000 cases of the cookie dough immediately after being notified by the FDA of the possible link to their company last week, and have closed their production facility in Virginia while the investigation continues.

“We just don’t know at this point,” said Nestlé spokeswoman Edie Burge early this afternoon. The FDA is looking at “every aspect of production,” she said, from the water the plant uses to operating procedures, and the manufacturing plant’s air control system.

Two lawsuits have been filed against Nestlé by people in California and Colorado, and another family in Oregon has asked for an apology from Nestle for the illness their teenage daughter suffered after eating what they believe was contaminated cookie dough.

“We just learned about this issue last week and reacted as quickly as we could,” Laurie MacDonald, vice president of corporate and brand affairs, told the Portland Oregonian earlier this week. “If it is determined that our product is the source of the girl’s illness, we will certainly apologize to her and her parents.”

If people do become ill, Nestlé encourages them to contact their physician, said Burge.

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And the litigation begins

June 25, 2009

Lawsuits against Nestlé USA filed in California and Colorado

Two lawsuits have been filed against Nestlé USA after people were sickened with E. coli O157:H7, believed to be linked to the company’s popular Toll House cookie dough.

Jillian Collins, an 18-year-old San Carlos, Calif., resident and Madison Sedbrook, 6, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., were both hospitalized after becoming gravely ill with E. coli contamination. The families of both victims believe their illnesses stem from eating raw Nestlé Toll House cookie dough. In each case, the genetic fingerprint of their tests matched that of the outbreak strain which has infected at least 70 people across the country. Both cases are being handled by Marler TollhousecookiesClark law firm of Seattle, which specializes in food-borne illnesses.

Collins, who filed the first lawsuit against Nestlé over the weekend, was hospitalized for a week at Stanford Medical Center after eating raw cookie dough on May 20 and 22. On May 25, she became painfully ill and suffered “abdominal cramps, nausea and bloody diarrhea” according to San Francisco Chronicle.

Sedbrook, who will begin first grade in the fall, suffered an even more dramatic bout with the pathogen.

“Madison was on the verge of kidney failure last month when doctors determined E. coli bacteria were the cause of her bloody diarrhea and vomiting,” Denver Post reported today. “The little girl’s blood had begun to clump, making it nearly impossible for her kidneys to function…”

“Not knowing the source of her illness, she continued to eat Nestlé cookie dough, and by the first week of May, she had abdominal cramps, fever, and bloody diarrhea,” Marler Clark attorney Bill Marler wrote in Marler Blog. “Over the next several weeks, the family sought medical care several times for Madison’s illness, which deepened in severity.  She was admitted to the hospital and then released before being rushed back and admitted to pediatric intensive care.”

Both Collins and Sedbrook eventually recovered, and both were able to attend school commencement ceremonies after their release from hospital.

Nestlé, in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, is investigating whether their product is the source of the contamination, and just how E. coli may have ended up in their product. They issued a full recall of 300,000 cases of the cookie dough immediately after being notified by the FDA of the possible link to their company, and have closed their production facility in Virginia while the investigation continues.

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Roundup proves deadly to human cells

June 24, 2009

Monsanto says French study doesn’t reflect realistic conditions

roundup2Scientific American – Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. Full story

California’s Prop 2 to get facelift

June 24, 2009

Opponents of Prop 2 see a chance for clarification on confinement standards


Egg producers who export their product to California from other states may find themselves having to meet the same animal housing standards as their California competition.

California Assembly Bill 1437 would require that laying hens in other states be treated to the same conditions as those in California if farmers want to sell their product in the Golden State. It passed the Assembly last week and is now under review in the Senate.

Last year, California voters approved Proposition 2 which forbids confining many farm animals in ways that inhibit their ability to engage in natural behaviors. Breeding pigs and veal calves, for example, are frequently held in pens that don’t allow them to even turn around. The proposal’s guidelines on chicken cages, in particular, drew a great deal of attention and voters passed the proposition by more than 63 percent.

Prop 2 called for the elimination of cages that prevent chickens from standing up, lying down, turning around, or being able to fully extend their wings by 2015. What Prop 2 didn’t offer were the new standards by which farmers are to operate. Assembly Bill 1437, introduced by Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) may offer a chance to finally delineate those standards.

“We need an enforceable legal standard,” Dennis Albiani, a lobbyist for the Association of California Egg Farmers, told Capital Press last week. “This is a criminal statute that puts the farmer and their employees at significant risk of fines and jail time.” Huffman’s AB 1437 is the means for establishing that legal standard, he said.

Indeed, legislative analysis of the bill noted “Opponents feel that AB 1437 should specify enclosure size per hen, how many hens per enclosure, and if current housing systems can be used or modified to comply with AB 1437 and Prop. 2.”

The bill moves on next to the Senate Health Committee where it will be read July 1.

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