Sunday, 28 December 2008

Stores recall fake Colgate toothpaste

Thousands of tubes of fake Colgate toothpaste have been recalled by two major retailers. It was labelled Colgate Cavity Protection and came in 100ml tubes.To read the full article in The Independent follow the link.

Sushi recalled due to undeclared egg

The US FDA has issued a product withdrawal/recall alert to conifrm that KRC Food Trading Inc is recalling its Fish Cake sushi with production date of December 19 and December 22 due to the label not declaring eggs.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to eggs run the risk of serious or life-threateningallergic reaction if they consume these products.

The Fish cake Sushi was distributed in California in coffee shops, bakeries, and Korean markets in Los Angeles, CA including two retail stores owned by the firm.

Follow the link for more details.

Choking hazard posed by mini cup jelly products

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is advising consumers to be cautious about a possible choking hazard associated with various brands and flavours of imported mini-cup jelly products containing konjac.

"If consumed as a single-bite, these products may cause choking, particularly for those at higher risk including infants, young children, the elderly, and people with swallowing difficulties. Depending upon the size, shape and consistency, mini-cup jelly products may become lodged in the throat and difficult to remove. To be safe, break the jelly into smaller bites prior to eating".

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume assorted flavours of Three Fish brand Bidrico coconut/fruit jelly with Konjac powder, a mini cup dessert described below, as it poses a choking hazard.

Follow the links for more details.

On the 9th January the CFIA issued further information on this recall to include additional product information.


Monday, 22 December 2008

Limits of detection

Why is it that water, food or drink that was described as pesticide or contamination free before is now being said to be contaminated?

Sometimes it is because of the limit of detection. The limit of detection (LOD) is a specific term used in analytical chemistry. It defines the limit of the test in determining absence from being 99% confident that the substance being tested for is present. As tests and analytical equipment is developed and improved this LOD becomes lower and lower. This means that on one occasion a pesticide or chemical contaminant may be deemed as ND - not detected, but that at a future point in time as the degree of accuracy improves what was deemed as not detected is now seen as a positive result.

To what level can we detect? well down to microgrammes or nanogrammes. How small is this? Well we would be familiar with a kilogramme bag of sugar and how much it weighs in our hand. This is one thousand grammes let me explain a different way.

1 Tonne (metric) = 1000 kilogrammes (kg) or 1000 000 grammes (g)

1 Kilogramme (kg) = 1000 grammes (g)

1 gramme (g) = 1000 milligrammes (mg) = 1000 000 microgrammes (ug) = 1000 000 000 nano grammes (ng) or 1000 000 000 000 picogrammes (pg)

Therefore the limit of detection can be at microgramme or nanogramme levels.

It can be more confusing still because contamination is often expressed in "parts per ...." This is an expression of proportion there is one part of this chemical compared to the total number of parts e.g. one part per million (ppm); one part per billion (ppb). As one litre of water weighs one kilogramme (kg), contamination can be expressed as one part per million (1 ppm) or one milligramme per litre (written in scientific shorthand as 1 mg/l); one part per billion (1 ug/l) - these are very small quantities.

Does the presence of chemical at this level cause illness - either acute (instant) or chronic (long term)? Well this is the ultimate question and thousands of scientists around the world are working on this at the moment. Policy makers have to make a formal decision now so they have to use current science to set safe limits for our food and water.

In the future what is deemed as safe now may through research be determined as unsafe; what is deemed as contamination free may then be deemed as contaminated. Science evolves continually. George Bernard Shaw is reputed to have said that "Science ... never solves a problem without creating ten more." How true ...

First published at The Human Imprint

FSA Update on Irish Beef

The UK FSA issued an update on Irish Beef on the 22nd December 2008. Read it here.

Salami recalled due to salmonella

The UK FSA has issued a food alert to confirm that Aytac Halal Foods Ltd has recalled a batch of its own brand pre-packed sliced turkey salami due to the presence of salmonella. Aytac Halal Foods Ltd has contacted all of its customers and requested they remove the affected products from their stores. Product recall notices will appear in stores advising customers of the recall. The product recalled is:

  • Aytac Sliced Turkey Salami
  • Pack size: 200g
  • Use by: 12/01/09
  • Lot no: 330156

No other Aytac Sliced Turkey Salami products are known to be affected.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Cocoa products recalled because they may contain melamine

The US FDA has issued a product recall notice to confirm that Dorsey Marketing Inc. (DMI) of Ville St. Laurent, Quebec, Canada, is voluntarily recalling the following G&J Gourmet Market cocoa products because these products may contain melamine. The products are:

G&J Hot Cocoa Stuffer Item 120144 (UPC 061361201444). This hot cocoa product was sold in small green and blue boxes with a backer card, candy cane and marshmallows.

G&J His and Hers Hot Cocoa Set Item 120129 (UPC 489702201296). This cocoa product was sold with 2 ceramic mugs in a brown box.

G&J Cocoa item 120126, sold in 2 flavors: French Vanilla Cocoa and Double Chocolate Cocoa
G&J French Vanilla Cocoa (UPC 061361201260). This product was sold in a small green bag with a whisk attached.

G&J Double Chocolate Cocoa (UPC 061361201260). This product was sold in a small pink bag with a whisk attached.

No injuries have been reported and only a few samples have, in fact, been found to include melamine. However, DMI is proceeding with this recall in the interest of public health and the safety of American consumers. For further details follow the link.

Sausage: potential contamination with listeria

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Nostrano Inc. are warning the public not to consume Nostrano brand Genoa Mild Sausage because the product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The affected product, Nostrano brand Genoa Mild Sausage, is sold in approximately 325 g packages, with a Best Before date of 09 JL 09, and codes “91009” and “1017”.

The product has been distributed in Quebec.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Biscuits recalled due to potential melamine contamination

The FDA has issued a food recall press release to confirm that Interfood Shareholding Company is recalling all lot codes of multiple varieties of the Wonderfarm brand of biscuits because they may be contaminated with Melamine. The Wonderfarm biscuits are sold in 800g red metal tins. The four varieties being recalled are:
  1. Wonderfarm "Successful" Assorted Biscuits (UPC:8935001262091)
  2. Wonderfarm "Royal Flavour" Assorted Biscuits (UPC:8935001263098)
  3. Wonderfarm "Lovely Melody" Assorted Biscuits (UPC: 8935001263296)
  4. Wonderfarm "Daily Life" Assorted Biscuits (UPC: 8935001264200)

The manufacturer identified on the product is Interfood Shareholding Company in Vietnam.

The recall was initiated after the firm was advised that samples collected by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture of the Wonderfarm "Successful" Assorted biscuits, tested positive for melamine. Interfood Shareholding Company was identified as the manufacturer of the product. After being advised that "Royal Flavour", "Lovely Melody", and "Daily Life" also tested positive for melamine, the firm agreed to expand their recall to include those products as well.

No illnesses associated with this product have been reported to date.

Denmark: infant botulism

There have been a number of reports in the media about a baby food being recalled in denmark as a result of a 4.5 month old child being found to have botulism.

Eurosurveillance reports that "The infant was still breastfed but had started to receive supplementary feeding during the last 3-4 weeks prior to admission. Five days before admission the infant was fed with three spoonfuls of an organic banana/peach puree from a European commercial company. The mother had noticed that the baby food had a very pervading and unusual smell, and the product appeared to be fermented. However, no gas production was noticed from the glass jar and the normal click occurred when opening it. The glass jar was thrown out afterwards.

Other supplementary foods consumed by the infant included gruel made by the mother from organic produced corn, buckwheat flour, whole meal with rice and millet to which grapeseed oil was added.

Based on a precautionary principle, a press release was issued warning about the specific batch of banana/peach puree and the lot (which was marked ‘best before December 2008’) was recalled by the company. Warnings were issued through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) and the European Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).
In total, 11 jars of baby food, four samples of the gruel ingredients and one sample of oil have been investigated for botulinum toxin using a mouse model. No preformed botulinum toxin was detected in these samples. Currently the samples are being investigated for botulinum toxin production after spore germination, as well as detection of botulinum toxin after trypsin activation of the samples."

The RASFF report is here. To date the case has not been directly linked to the food product under investigation.

Potential listeria contamination of meat

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Mariposa Meats are warning the public not to consume two types of Old Style brand products because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Follow the link for full details

Mini cup dessert recalled due to potential chocking hazard

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume Lychee Flavor Nata De Coco in Konnyaku Jelly, a mini cup dessert, as it poses a choking hazard.

The alert states that: "The affected product, was sold in plastic bags with Japanese text and the package bears a bilingual sticker that describes the product. Product is described as Nata De Coco in Konnyaku Jelly, Lychee Flavor. Each bag contains 12 mini cups and bears UPC 4 560124 220389. The affected mini-cup jelly product is about the size of coffee creamer with rounded edges. It contains a flavoured centre.

This product was imported by Daiso Store Canada Ltd., Richmond, BC and was only sold from the Daiso Store located at Hazel Bridge Way, Richmond, BC."

There have been no choking incidents associated with the consumption of this product. Follow the link for more information.

Second recall for nuts and Salmonella

The UK FSA has issued a second food alert to confirm that Imperial Snack Foods Ltd has recalled one batch of its own brand brazil nuts, due to the presence of salmonella. The alert states that:

"Imperial Snack Foods Ltd has recalled the affected batch. Product recall notices will appear in stores nationwide. These notices will advise customers of the recall and advise them of what actions to take if they have already purchased the product. The products being recalled are:

  • Brazil Nuts
  • Best Before: 17/11/09
  • Size: 200g
  • Batch code: 8320.K


No other Imperial Snack Foods Ltd products are known to be affected." Follow the link to find out more.

Nuts recalled due to Salmonella

The UK FSA has issued a food alert to confirm that JLM Global Foods Ltd has recalled one batch of its own brand Snack ‘n’ Time Mixed Nuts, due to the presence of salmonella. The FSA state that "The product was supplied exclusively to One Stop convenience stores. Product recall notices will appear in stores nationwide. These notices will advise customers of the recall and advise them of what actions to take if they have already purchased the product.

The product recalled is:

  • Snack ‘N’ Time Mixed Nuts
  • Best before: 08/09
  • Size: 340g
  • Batch Code: 08316 C

No other JLM Global Foods Ltd products are known to be affected." For more information click on the link.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

FSAI issue further update

The FSAI has issued a further update with regard to Irish Pork and Bacon - follow the link to find out more.

Aussie butchers fined for dosing meat with SO2

Two Sydney butchers have been fined for selling meet that had been dosed with sulphur dioxide a known food allergen. The Ausfoodnews article states that:

"Sadik Brothers Butchery in Auburn was fined $11,550 for six dosing offences, while Teng Cheng Butchery in Lakemba received a $3,993 fine for three breaches.

“The Auburn incident is particularly worrying because it involved two separate inspections by the Food Authority only a month apart,” Minister Macdonald reported. “On each occasion they found dosed lamb, mutton and beef products.”"

For more details follow the link.

We had a similar incident in the UK in 2000. 1,300 tons of condemned poultry was sold into Britain's supermarkets, butchers and restaurants over three years. Three the men, all executives of meat supply firms, were convicted of offences in an operation that was estimated to have earned a £2.9m profit. Condemned meat had been bleached and then sold into the human supply chain. Follow the link to find out more.



Crisps recalled for potential rubber contamination

Ausfoodnews has reported that the Smith’s Snackfood Company has implemented a voluntary recall of two products as a precautionary measure following the discovery of pieces of rubber in some packs produced at their Queensland manufacturing plant.

The company has advised that the rubber could pose a choking hazard. Rubber contamination of crisps seems to be a recurrent theme on this site as it was only at the beginning of this month when Walkers had to recall crisps for potential rubber contamination in the UK for the third time this year. Follow the links for more background.

Winter vomiting bug hits the UK

The Telegraph reports that the winter vomiting bug has hit the UK. The virus, known as norovirus is estimated to have hit record levels in 2007 with around five million people affected. It has got off to a good pre-Christmas start again this year with many hospitals and schools affected.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Drink recalled due to undeclared milk

The FDA has issued a product recall press release to confirm that Kashi Company of LaJolla, CA is recalling a limited number of canisters of Kashi GOLEAN Powder Chocolate Energy Shake Mix because they contain undeclared milk. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk, run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The product was distributed to grocery, health food, pharmacy and on-line retailers nationwide. The product is packaged in a 14.8 oz – canister with a bar code of 18627 71000. Canisters with a Better if Used by Date stamped on the bottom of the canister between the dates of JAN 17 2009 and NOV 15 2009 are included in this alert. No allergic reactions have been reported to date. For more etails follow the link

Pastrami may contain Listeria

The CFIA report that the public warning issued on December 13, 2008 has been updated to correct the size and to include the UPC.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume Old Style brand Pastrami because the product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The affected product, Old Style brand Pastrami is sold in 375 g packages bearing a Best Before date of 09JA15 (January 15, 2009) and a UPC of 6 28292 50004 8.

FSA issue Irish dioxin update

The FSA issued a further update on the issues surrounding dioxin contamination of irish meat. Follow the link for more details.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Milk allergy causes recall

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and DMR Food Corporation are warning people with allergies to milk not to consume SunRidge Farms Organic Dark Chocolate Raisins and SunRidge Farms Organic Dark Chocolate Peanuts. The affected products may contain milk which is not declared on the label.

Product recall due to listeria

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Cambrooke Foods are warning the public not to consume certain CamBrooke Foods brand imitation cream cheese and Peanot ButterTM spreads because the product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Follow the link for more details.

The US FDA also issued a recall alert regarding these products. Follow the link for more.

A follow up alert has now been issued by the CFIA.

Fish may contain botulinum toxin

The FDA has issued a warning to retailers and food service operators not to offer for sale ungutted, salt-cured alewives (also called gaspereaux fish) from Michel & Charles LeBlanc Fisheries Ltd., CAP-PELÈ, New Brunswick, Canada, because the fish may contain the Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum) toxin. Consumers should not consume the product.

C. botulinum toxin can cause botulism, a serious and sometimes life-threatening condition. The toxin cannot be removed by cooking or freezing.

The fish were imported into the United States and sent to these Florida distributors:

Stilton Cheese recalled for Listeria

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning individuals not to consume the Cropwell Bishop Creamery Finest Blue Stilton Cheese described below because the product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

All sizes of the Cropwell Bishop Creamery Finest Blue Stilton Cheese, product from England, bearing Best Before date 08/DE/12 are affected by this alert. This product has been sold nationally through Costco Wholesale stores. There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Food poisoning incident linked to shredded lettuce

Eurosurveillance reports that between 14 September and 20 October 2007, an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 simultaneously occurred in the Netherlands and Iceland.

The report states that "A total of 50 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported with a STEC O157 infection caused by the same clone. ... The most probable cause of this international outbreak was contaminated lettuce, shredded and pre-packed in a Dutch food processing plant. Samples of the environment, raw produce and end products, taken at several vegetable growers and processing plants all tested negative for STEC O157. However, the only epidemiological link between the cases in the Netherlands and in Iceland was the implicated Dutch processing plant.

In Europe, food products are often widely distributed posing the risk of potential spread of food borne pathogens simultaneously to several countries. This international outbreak emphasises the importance of common alert and surveillance systems in earlier detection of international outbreaks and better assessment of their spread
." Follow the link to read the full report

Irish pork recall reaches the US

Marler Blog reports that the ripples from the irish pork dioxin incident have reached the US. Follow the link for more details.

CFIA report prosecution for adulterated oil

The CFIA report that on June 27, 2008, Hanif’s International Foods Ltd. of Delta, BC entered a guilty plea in Surrey Provincial Court to two violations of section 5(1) of the Food and Drugs Act. The company was fined $7,500 for each violation for a total of $15,000.

It was found that Hanif’s International Foods Ltd. added canola oil to imported almond oil, then packaged and sold it as “pure almond oil” at various retail establishments located between British Columbia and Manitoba. For more details follow the link.

Irish pork back on shelves

The UK FSA issued the following statement yesterday:

"Measures are now in place to restore supplies of Irish pork and bacon to consumers. Pork from animals reared, slaughtered and processed in Northern Ireland remain unaffected by this incident. In the UK, shops, manufacturers and caterers that can trace the origin of any pork directly to a farm that is unaffected by contaminated feed are able to continue selling their products.

This follows confirmation from the Irish authorities that the necessary controls have been established.

Food Standards Agency Chief Scientist Dr Andrew Wadge said: 'Consumers can be reassured that systems are in place, so we can buy pork from Northern Ireland and now the Republic of Ireland with confidence. We have worked together with food businesses and local authorities to make sure that the appropriate checks are being carried out.'" Follow the link to find out more and read the full statement.

Allergen alert for "freefrom" foods

The UK FSA reports that Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd has withdrawn its own brand Freefrom Chipolatas, Chicken Steaks, Chicken Nuggets and Beef Burgers
  • 16 Freefrom Pork Chipolatas 400g
  • 4 Freefrom Chicken Steaks 380g
  • 20 Freefrom Chicken Nuggets 425g
  • 4 Freefrom Beef Burgers 227g

Date codes: All date codes

Other information: All products are frozen

Some batches of the four products have been found to contain accidental traces of milk protein, which is not indicated on the label. This makes the products a potential health risk for people who are allergic to or intolerant of milk or milk constituents.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

EFSA responds to Commission’s urgent request on dioxins in Irish pork

Click on the link to read the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) response on the Irish pork incident and the EFSA Statement on the risks for public health due to the presence of dioxins in pork from Ireland

Pork and bacon supplies go back on the market

Click on the link to read the DAFF Statement released yesterday about the restoration of pork and bacon supplies in Ireland.

FSAI issue further update

The FSAI has issued a further update with regard to the Irish pork and bacon recall. It reads:

"Following from the FSAI’s recommendation to recall all Irish pork products produced from pigs slaughtered in Ireland from 1st September 2008, further investigations and continuous monitoring with the Food Standards Agency – Northern Ireland (FSA NI) has necessitated further action for Irish manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and caterers.

The Food Standards Agency, Northern Ireland (FSA NI) are continuing investigations with regards to 12 meat processors in Northern Ireland (see list below) to establish whether the contaminated pork meat from the Republic of Ireland has been processed in these establishments. Until such time as this has been determined, FSA NI has advised that all pork and pork products from these establishments should be placed on hold and the origin confirmed.

Products from these establishments may be on the market in the Republic of Ireland. As a precaution the FSAI is recommending that these products be removed from sale pending verification of the country of origin of the meat.

As information becomes available this alert will be updated".

Follow the link for further information.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Questions and Answers from Beef Alert

The FSAI has produced a question and answer page on the current beef alert which contains detailed information on the current investigation. There is also a similar information page on the pig meat recall. Click on the links to find out more.

Update on Irish Beef

The UK FSA issued this statement on the 9th December:

Ireland’s Food Safety Authority (FSAI) has confirmed that feed contaminated with dioxins has been fed to some cattle in Ireland. FSAI has evaluated samples taken from affected herds and is satisfied that these samples raise no public health concern.

The Food Standards Agency can confirm that cattle on nine farms in Northern Ireland have also been affected. FSA is conducting its own tests to establish the level of chemicals that might be present in meat from affected herds in Northern Ireland.

As a precaution, stock and carcasses from affected Irish and Northern Irish herds is being held and is not allowed to enter the food chain.

Dr Andrew Wadge, FSA Chief Scientist, said: ‘We would expect that the risk from dioxin in beef is significantly lower than in pork. Cattle consume a wider variety of feeds and the way their bodies process the feed is different which makes the risk of contamination much lower. We're waiting for the results of the scientific tests to check for levels in Northern Ireland.

'The risk to UK consumers remains very low. This is because you would need to eat large quantities of the contaminant chemical over a long period of time for there to be any risk to your health. Because of this low risk to health, we’re taking a proportionate approach and therefore products are not being removed from the shelves.'

Click on the link to go to the FSA website.

FSA update on Irish Pork

Statement published on Tuesday 9th December:

The FSA has today published a list of the meat processors in the Republic of Ireland affected by the pork incident and also meat companies in England that have received affected pork products. The risk to consumer health from these pork products remains very low, as the Chief Scientist highlights in his recent blog.

The Agency has been working since late Saturday 6 December to gather information to identify both the processors and the companies involved. To date, five processing plants in the Republic of Ireland that have received the contaminated pork have been identified. In addition, 12 processing plants in Northern Ireland have been identified as potentially receiving contaminated pork from the Republic of Ireland and investigations are ongoing. It has been confirmed that no pigs in Northern Ireland have been fed contaminated feed.

The FSA has been in regular communication with local authorities, and has today formally issued a Food Alert for Action. As new information becomes available regarding traceability, the Agency will issue an updated food alert.

There is generally good traceability in the UK food supply chain. Most major retailers and caterers have already traced their products and removed any affected products. We've asked retailers to work with us to agree a date this week when we will be able to say with certainty that consumers can now buy Irish pork unaffected by contaminated feed.

For the time being, shops, manufacturers and caterers that can trace the origin of their products, whether they be meat joints or ingredients of mixed products such as sausages, directly to a farm that is unaffected by the contaminated feed, are able to continue selling their products.

If consumers have any doubts or concerns about the source of any pork products they have bought, they should contact the shop at which they bought them.

Related links
Annexe 1: Meat processors in Republic of Ireland and UK companies in receipt of pork products from these processors See Annexe 1 to Food Alert for Action 74/2008

Annexe 2: Meat processors in Northern Ireland See Annexe 2 to Food Alert for Action 74/2008

Emerging incident involving presence of dioxins in Irish pork meat - follow link to food alert

Comment on the Irish pork incident

On our sister blog The Human Imprint I have written two posts entitled:

Risk: Scientific based or value based and Seeing the positives or the negatives. Check them out.

Monday, 8 December 2008

A blog post on health risks and dioxins

Andrew Wadge, UK FSA Chief Scientist has written a blog post about the difference between safety limits and health risks on his blog in light of the current dioxin incident with Irish pork. Check it out here.

UK FSA statement on dioxins: update

Statement as follows:

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is today reiterating its advice on Irish pork products as a result of ongoing investigations.

The FSA is currently advising consumers not to eat pork, or products where pork is the main ingredient, that are labelled as being from the Irish Republic or Northern Ireland. This includes food such as sausages, bacon, salami and ham.

Following further enquiries by the Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSAI), it has been confirmed only ten pig farms in the Republic of Ireland were supplied with feed contaminated with dioxins. Pigs from these farms have been supplied to four processors.

Dr Andrew Wadge, FSA Chief Scientist, said: 'The risk to UK consumers is very low. This is because you would need to eat large quantities of the chemical over a long period of time for there to be any risk to your health.'

The FSA is currently advising:

retailers and caterers to remove from sale pork products manufactured from 1 September 2008 in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

manufacturers not to use pork from products manufactured from 1 September 2008 in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

However, if shops and caterers can demonstrate their product is not affected by this incident, it can be sold.

The Agency is continuing to monitor the situation and is working closely with the relevant authorities in the Republic of Ireland.

FSAI issue further statement on pork and dioxins

Statement text as follows:

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today stated its opinion that the data in relation to health risks for people exposed to dioxins does not provide cause for concern. Its view, based on an assessment of international and national data, continues to be that a short term peak exposure to dioxins and PCBs does not result in adverse health effects.

The FSAI states that scientific data and evidence does not support concerns on health effects to people exposed to dioxins at a high level over a short period of time, such as the Belgian Dioxin incident. The FSAI confirms that, as part of its wide ranging deliberations on this aspect, its scientific experts have also consulted widely with scientific experts in the European Food Safety Authority; the World Health Organization as well as with counterpart health risk assessors in the Food Standards Agency (UK). In addition, Department of Health & Children has been in consultation with the Belgian authorities regarding their continued population health monitoring since their dioxin incident in 1999.

According to Mr Alan Reilly, Deputy Chief Executive, FSAI, data used to assess any health risk involves reviewing evidence that is available on incidents and exposure internationally. He stated that a number of factors mitigate and reduce the potential for any health risk in relation to this recall. He maintains that people should not be alarmed or concerned in relation to the potential risks from dioxins found in pork and bacon products.

“Firstly, the dioxins in relation to the pork and bacon recall would have been concentrated primarily in the fat element of the product – pork is considered a healthy lean meat product and only the visible fat element of the product would have potentially contained any contamination. Add this to the fact that only 10% of the product is suspected as being affected on the market and this reduces the potential exposure. Putting all this into perspective with the evidence of long term exposure information we have, there is a low level risk of ill health – and that means for today, tomorrow or 10, 20 years from now. There is no scientific robust evidence to support any other viewpoint in our opinion.”

The FSAI stated that there is nothing that stands out as concerning in relation to data from populations where there was a high exposure over a short period of time to dioxins such as in the case of the Seveso plant explosion in Italy in 1976. These people have been closely monitored for the last 30 years and the data here continues to show no significant evidence and there is nothing emerging in terms of adverse health implications.

“We know there was high exposure over short periods in Seveso and there is no data of real significance showing up in that population to indicate effects. Similar data in relation to the Belgium incident in 1999, which is somewhat similar to our pork incident is available. The Belgian population have been closely monitored for almost 10 years for signs of health effects in relation to their exposure to dioxins and again nothing of significance has shown up in health screenings,” continues Mr Reilly.

“This is very reassuring – effects have been researched in populations exposed for long periods to relatively low levels and high levels over short periods of time and it could be expected that there might be some effects – but there is no major indicators emerging. The body does deal with low levels of dioxin – it removes them itself over a period of time. Bearing in mind all the factors and data, the FSAI’s view even in any worst case scenario where someone may have been exposed to a lot of contaminated pork, the possibility for an ill health effect is very low. It is highly unlikely anyone in Ireland was continually exposed to large amounts of this pork given the pattern of pig production in Ireland,” concludes Mr Reilly.

Last updated: 08/12/2008

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Irish pork and dioxins: an update

Today has seen many developments in the investigations into the contamination of Irish pork products with dioxins. I have posted a number of posts including the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) statement, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) statement and the initial review that I posted first thing today.

The Guardian reports that Michelle Gildernew, the North's agriculture minister, confirmed that restrictions had been placed on the farms, which were identified by her department's electronic monitoring system. She said "To date, nine farms in the north have been identified as having used the contaminated feed."There is obviously a large amount of north-south movement of these products in Ireland and we need to carefully consider the way ahead."

The FSAI Statement said that "It is now considered that the profile of dioxins found is similar to those found in electronic transformer oils". Further investigations will be undertaken by the authorities to determine the exact nature of the source of contamination.

FSAI updated statement on dioxin and Irish Pork

The FSAI has issued a further statement today - it reads as follows:

"The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today updated consumers on the national recall of Irish pork and bacon products. Irish pork and bacon products are being recalled as a precautionary measure from the market due to the illegal presence of a dioxin contaminant in a portion of the Irish pork and bacon available on the market. The FSAI reiterates its advice to consumers not to consume any Irish pork or bacon products. However, it stresses that people should not be alarmed or concerned in relation to the potential risks from dioxin’s found in pork products. A short term peak exposure to dioxins and PCBs does not result in adverse health effects. The FSAI confirms that:
• The use of a contaminated ingredient added to pork feed is identified as the source of the contamination. This feed was provided to ten Irish farms which produce approximately 10% of the total supply of pigs in Ireland.
• It is now considered that the profile of dioxins found is similar to those found in electronic transformer oils.
• Retailers have been asked to co-operate and to assist in the collection, return and disposal of product through the supply chain. The FSAI and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will work with the retail sector and producers in relation to resumption of product supply when appropriate.
• The retail and hospitality industries have been briefed and advised on appropriate actions to take.
• Environmental health officers (EHOs) throughout the country are assisting in this withdrawal process.
The FSAI will provide updates as and when further information becomes available
."

FSA Statement on Irish Pork

The FSA has issued a statement today on Irish Pork as follows:

"The Food Standards Agency is today advising consumers not to eat pork or pork products, such as sausages, bacon, salami and ham, which are labelled as being from the Irish Republic or Northern Ireland, while it continues to investigate whether any products contaminated with dioxins have been distributed in the UK.

From the information that we have at this time, we do not believe there is significant risk to UK consumers as adverse health effects from eating the affected products are only likely if people are exposed to relatively high levels of this contaminant for long periods.

This precautionary advice had been issued following the Irish Government's announcement that it is recalling all pork products made in the Irish Republic since September after dioxins were found in slaughtered pigs that are thought to have eaten contaminated feed.

Dioxins are chemicals that get into food from the environment and they are associated with a range of health effects when there is long term exposure to them at relatively high levels.

The Agency is continuing to monitor the situation and is in close contact with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. If it is confirmed that any affected products have been distributed to the UK the Agency will take appropriate action to protect consumers. An urgent meeting of the UK food industry is being organised by the Agency as part of its investigation into possible distribution channels in this country
".

Their information statement on dioxins can be found here.

Sainsbury's recall chicken due to potential contamination with milk protein

The UK FSA issued a press release on the 5th December to confirm that the supermarket chain Sainsbury's had issued a recall of their own-brand cooked wafer thin chicken (70g) with date codes up to and including 22 December. The press release states that:
"This is a precautionary measure by Sainsbury's, as traces of milk protein have been found in a sample of the product, which is not mentioned on the packaging. If you have a milk allergy, please do not eat this product. If you have bought the affected product, return it to your nearest Sainsbury's for a full refund. No other Sainsbury's products are affected by the recall". Follow the link for more details.

Walkers recall crisps for potential rubber contamination for the third time this year

The UK FSA has issued a food alert to confirm that Walkers Snack Foods Ltd has recalled certain date codes of Walkers crisps due to the possible presence of pieces of yellow rubber in the products. This is the third recall this year for rubber contamination. There were recalls back in August and in February. This alert reads:

"Walkers Snack Foods Ltd has undertaken a product recall of all the affected batches. Product recall notices will appear in the national press today, 4 December 2008, and point-of-sale notices will be displayed in all retail outlets. These notices will advise customers of the reason for the recall and the actions they can take if they have already purchased the affected products.
The affected products are: Walkers Crisps
Best before: 17 January 2009 GBL***306 (the asterisks represent different line numbers and therefore may vary). A variety of different flavours, sizes and pack formats are implicated
."

Follow the UK FSA link to obtain a full list of products.

Dioxin scare leads to recall of pork products

Back in March I wrote about the dioxin scare associated with mozzarella cheese. This morning the media is full of stories surrounding the fact that all pork products made in the Irish Republic since September (that have not already been eaten) are being recalled following concerns that they may be contaminated with dioxin. It is believed that the pigs ate contaminated feed. The BBC report that tests showed some pork products contained up to 200 times more dioxins than the recognised safety limit. The FSAI has issued a preliminary press release.

It has not been confirmed whether any of the pork products have been exported to the UK, although approxiamtely 60% of its production is exported worth £216 million per year. This problem comes after issues in the summer for the FSAI with Salmonella Agona contamination.
The BBC article stated that "The Irish minister for agriculture, Brendan Smith, said the problem was confined to 47 farms. He said: "This includes 38 beef farms. This is the total number of farms identified as having received possible contaminated animal feed. There is only one feed supplier involved." The FSAI's chief executive Alan Reilly said: "The levels in the feed were very high. The levels in the pork itself were in the region of about 80-200 times above the safe limits."

At this stage, no beef products have been recalled.

Why is dioxin a problem? Dioxins are highly toxic and carcinogenic (cause cancer). Dioxins are a by-product of industrial production in industries such as chemical and pesticide manufacture, paper bleaching. We have had food safety incidents in the past with this chemical. In 1999, dioxin was found in European animal feed which sparked a continent wide recall centred on Belgium. In 2004, there was another incident with milk in Belgium and the Netherlands and this was believed to have been due to animal feed that was contaminated with potato byproducts and earlier in 2008 with mozzarella cheese.

I have written before about having an effective product recall procedure in place and the interaction between food safety and brand equity. Food safety incidents, such as this one, require an effective, co-ordinated response in order to maintain customer confidence and to underpin the supply chain.

First posted on The Human Imprint

Sandwiches recalled due to undeclared egg products

The US FDA has issued a product recall notice to state that Mom's Food Products, Inc. of Ft Worth, TX is recalling its Pimento Spread sandwiches with a expiration date between December 15th and the 18th due to egg yolks not being declared on the label. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to eggs run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

There have been no illnesses reported to date.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered the Pimento Spread sandwiches with these dates were incorrectly labelled. Follow the link for more details

Fish products recalled as may contain undeclared buttermilk

The US FDA has issued a product recall press release to confirm that Louisiana Fish Fry Products of Baton Rouge, LA, is recalling its 6 ounce packages of "Chicken & Fish Bake Seasoned Coating Mix" because they may contain undeclared buttermilk. People who have allergies to milk products run the risk of an allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The press release states that:

"The recalled "Chicken & Fish Bake" was distributed nationwide in retail stores and through mail orders.The product comes in a 6 ounce bag marked with a "Best By" date from Jan 1, 2008 thru Sept. 25, 2011.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem". Follow the link for more information.

Walgreens Recalls 173 Teddy Bears With Chocolate Bars Sold Since Late September 2008

The US FDA has issued a product recall notice to confirm that Walgreens is recalling 173 teddy bears with chocolate bars sold in stores since late September 2008.

The notice states that: "Analysis by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that certain samples of the chocolate provided with the teddy bears were contaminated with melamine.

Customers who purchased any of the 173 teddy bears should return them immediately to the Walgreens stores where they were purchased for a full refund.

Walgreens already has instructed stores to stop selling the product, which is specifically described as an approximately 9-inch high Dressy Teddy Bear with 4-oz. Chocolate Bar. The product's UPC number is 047475864485, and the product tag also includes the item number 291332. Walgreens has not received any reports of illness or injury related to this product."

Follow the link for more details.

Chocolate bars recalled due to potential of undeclared milk

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation are warning people with allergies to milk not to consume two varieties of Life brand Dark Chocolate Bars. The two affected products, sold in 100g bars may contain milk which is not declared on the label.
All lot codes are being recalled.

Life brand Premium Swiss Dark Chocolate with Orange, UPC 0 57800 16450 0.
Life brand Premium Swiss Dark Chocolate 72% Cocoa, UPC 0 57800 16449 4.

These products have been distributed nationally through Shopper Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores. There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products. Consumption of these products may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to milk protein. Follow the link for more details

Chocolate spreads recalled due to potential for undeclared milk ingredient

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Verger Duhaime Inc. are warning people with allergies to milk not to consume ten types of Duhaime Chocolaté brand spreads. The affected products may contain milk which is not declared on the label.

The affected products, described below, are sold in 150g jars. All lots are being recalled. Follow the link for more details.

Update Jan 2009
The public warning issued on December 5, 2008 has been updated to include additional information. Follow this link to find out more

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Chocolate almonds recalled due to undeclared milk

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and DMR Food Corporation are warning people with allergies to milk not to consume SunRidge Farms Organic Dark Chocolate Almonds. The affected product contains milk which is not declared on the label.

The affected product, SunRidge Farms Organic Dark Chocolate Almonds are sold in 205 g packages, bearing UPC 6 28997 06960 4. All lot codes are affected. This product has been distributed in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.
Consumption of this product may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to milk protein. Follow the link to find out more

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Ricotta Cheese may be recalled due to potential contamination with Listeria

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and International Cheese Co. Ltd. are warning the public not to consume Santa Lucia brand Ricotta Cheese because the product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The affected product, Santa Lucia brand Ricotta Cheese, is sold in packages of 500 g, bearing a Best Before Date of 09JA01 (January 1, 2009) and lot number 477. This product has been distributed in Ontario. Follow the link for more details.

Postscript

The public warning issued on December 2, 2008 has been updated to include additional distribution information.

Tesco recall cocoa due to undeclared milk

The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert to confirm that Tesco Stores Ltd has recalled certain batch codes of Tesco Continental Plain Chocolate 74% Cocoa. This is due to a packaging error that has led to a risk of potential presence of milk allergen not being declared

The product being recalled is: Tesco Continental Plain Chocolate 74% Cocoa, 100g
Batch codes 01 2010 L8208 1 and 01 2010 L8208 2

Cyclists affected by Campylobacter during race

Back in March 2008 I wrote about an incident in a cycling competiton where a number of competitors contracted Campylobacter infections from taking part in a cycling race. Campylobacter Blog reported that
"Last June [2007], over a quarter of 800 bicyclists in a race in British Columbia became ill from what public health officials believe is one of the biggest reported outbreaks in this country of Campylobacter jejuni - a diarrhea-causing bacteria that is generally contracted through consumption of contaminated food or water.
But it wasn't the food or water the cyclists consumed that made them sick. No, it was the mud. June can be a rainy month in BC and the mud was so thick in places that bikers had to dismount and push their way through it
."

The Telegraph reported yesterday that more that 660 people took part in the Builth Wells Mountain Biking Marathon in Powys in July. Eight cyclists fell ill with food poisoning after the event and tested positive for campylobacter. The cyclists are believed to have been infected as a result of eating food without washing their hands first. The National Public Health Service for Wales (NPHSW) launched an internet based questionnaire to investigate the outbreak and had 355 responses. 161 cyclists reported symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting. A report, by the NPHSW, concluded that
"the outbreak was caused by campylobacter spread to the cyclists by mud which was contaminated with sheep faeces. Heavy overnight rain is likely to have contributed to the outbreak by increasing the amount of liquid mud on the course. The report recommended cyclists to eat out of protective wrappers at future events".

Campylobacter is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK , to find out more check out the Bad Bug Book.

Melamine scare impacts on Chinese exports of milk products

I have talked before about the strong link between food safety and brand equity and made a series of comments about the issues surrounding the melamine contamination of food and feed.
BBC News reports that in the first months of 2008 an average of 12,000 tonnes of dairy products were exported from China every month. Then melamine contamination hit the headlines. Data would now suggest that dairy exports fell 92% year-on-year in October. This is in part due to an import alert implemented by the US FDA which impacted on exports to the US. Melamine has been found in very low quantities in baby milk formula and the FDA has said that it is acceptable below 2.5ppm
The BBC News article reports that the Chinese Ministry of Health has revised the number of infants who died after drinking tainted products. It now says that as many as six infants have died and up to 294,000 children have suffered from urinary tract ailments including kidney stones. More than 850 children are still being treated in hospital; at least 150 of them are said to be seriously ill.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Cumbrian Pancetta recalled over concerns about Listeria

The UK FSA has issued a food alert because Richard Woodhall Ltd has recalled from sale one batch of Cumbrian Pancetta (Tradional Dry Cured) due to the detection of low levels of Listeria monocytogenes.

"Richard Woodhall Ltd has undertaken a product recall and is displaying point-of-sale notices in all stores supplied. These notices alert customers to the recall and advise them of what actions to take if they have purchased the affected products.
The product recalled is:
Cumbrian Pancetta (Traditional Dry Cured)
Pack size: 100g
Best before date: 30 November 2008
No other Richard Woodhall Ltd products are known to be affected"
.

Follow the link for more details

Yazoo milkshakes recalled due to faulty seals

The UK Food Standards Agency has issued a food alert because Campina UK Ltd has recalled the Yazoo brand milkshakes 500g, banana, strawberry and chocolate flavours due to faulty seals on the lids. This has been caused by insufficient sealing of the lids on one of its production lines.
Campina UK Ltd has recalled the affected products from sale. Product recall notices were published in the national press and the trade press on 28 November 2008. These notices alert customers to the recall and advise them of what actions to take if they have purchased the product.
The products recalled are:
Yazoo 500g (475ml) Banana
Yazoo 500g (475ml) Strawberry
Yazoo 500g (475ml) Chocolate
All date codes affected. Lot codes affected end in the letter ‘K’ which can be found on the neck of the bottle. Only 500g Yazoo products with the K-code are affected by this recall. No other Campina UK Ltd products are known to be affected.

Morrisons withdraws wine due to undeclared sulphites

The UK FSA has issued an allergy alert to confirm that Morrisons has withdrawn the Miramonte Ridge brand of Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc wines due to incorrect allergen labelling information.
The Miramonte Ridge brand of Merlot 75cl and Miramonte Ridge brand of Sauvignon Blanc 75cl contain sulphites as ingredients which are not declared on the label, resulting in incorrect allergen information. The product is, therefore, a potential health risk for individuals with a sensitivity to sulphites. Follow the link for more details

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Canned mushrooms recalled due to blown cans

The FSA has issued a food alert to confirm that Prime Brand has recalled a batch of canned Prime Brand Whole Straw Mushrooms (425g) due to anaerobic spore formers resulting in blown cans. Follow the link to find out more.

Stowells Italian Sparkling Wine recalled due to bottle problems

The UK FSA has reported that Constellation Europe has recalled two Stowells brand Italian Sparkling Wines due to reports of spontaneous bottle breakage. Follow the link to find out more.

Co-op recalls chili powder due to presence of Salmonella

The FSA has issued a food alert to confirm that the Co-operative Food has recalled all date codes of its own-brand Mild Chilli Powder, 45g and 90g jars, due to the presence of Salmonella Thompson. Follow the link to find out more

Chutney recalled due to undeclared sulphur dioxide

The Food Standards Agency reports that Shaws of Huddersfield has recalled their Shaws of Huddersfield 1889 Apricot and Ginger Chutney, because the product contains sulphur dioxide, which is not declared on the label. This makes the product a potential health risk for individuals who are sensitive to sulphur dioxide. Follow the link to find out more.

Postscript

The list of products affected has been updated by the FSA.

E.coli incident in Canada may be linked to California

I wrote two weeks ago about the E.coli outbreak in Canada. Marler Blog reports that this outbreak could be linked to lettuce production from the Salinas Valley in California. Follow the links to read more about this issue.

Norovirus outbreak on Rhine Cruise

Eight holiday makers have been admitted to hospital as a reulst of an outbreak of norovirus on a River Rhine Cruise. The Independent reports that 20 people were taken to hospital during the incident, while around 20 more received treatment on the ship.

Teething syrup may have caused kidney failure

BBC News reports that the Nigerian food and drug agency says that 25 children aged between three months and four years have died after taking a contaminated teething syrup. It has been suggested that the syrup was contaminated with diethylene glycol. This chemical is used as anti-freeze and an engine coolant and may have triggered kidney failure in the children. Follow the link to find out more.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Nougat recalled due to potential insect infestation

The UK Food Standards Agency reports that TK Maxx and Homesense are recalling, on a precautionary basis, all varieties of Properzi and Valentino branded Nougat. The recall follows two reports of insects being found in the nougat.
The products recalled are:
Properzi Nougat – all varieties, all sizes, all dates
Valentino Nougat – all varieties, all sizes, all dates

Follow the links for further details

Further strawberry flavour pencils recalled - this time Tesco

The UK Food Standards Agency has issued a food alert to confirm that Tesco Stores Ltd has recalled a batch of its own-brand Strawberry Pencils (75g) confectionary product, due to a small piece of metal being found within one packet of the product. "Tesco Stores Ltd has recalled the affected batch from sale. Product recall notices will be displayed in all stores. These notices alert customers to the recall and advise them of what actions to take if they have purchased the product.
The product recalled is:
Tesco Strawberry Flavour Pencils, 75g
Best Before End: 03/2010
Batch codes: All
No other Tesco products are known to be affected
."

This follows on from a similar recall in Sainsburys back in September. In that instance the product was the same size (75g) but had a different code: Best before end: July 2009
Batch codes: L-H 8213-3. Follow the original link to find out more.

Butternut squash recalled due to undeclared allergen

The US FDA has issued a press release regarding butternut squash in prepared meals. It states:

"Following a recall from its vendor, the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company has announced it is recalling all butternut squash sides that are packaged with the supermarket chain’s prepared turkey and ham holiday dinners. The recall applies to all 24-ounce sides of butternut squash packaged in the holiday meals and was issued immediately after Stop & Shop’s vendor, Simmering Soup, Inc. recalled the product because of an undeclared egg allergen and quality concerns. The recall applies only to butternut squash that comes as part of the packaged holiday dinners and not to squash sold in the prepared foods department." Follow the link for further details

Undeclared sulphites in cake products

The public warning issued on November 21, 2008, by the CFIA has been updated to include additional distribution information.

"The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning people with sensitivity to sulphites not to consume the Six Fortune brand Papaya Cake and Strawberry Cake products described below. The affected products contain sulphites which are not declared on the label. All codes of the following products, imported from Taiwan, are affected by this alert." For more details follow the link to the site

Friday, 21 November 2008

Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe

The BBC News reports that there has been a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe that has killed nearly three hundred people. Follow the link to read the full article.

Cake recalled due to undeclared sulphite

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a food allergy alert to warn individuals with sensitivity to sulphites not to consume two batches of Six Fortune brand Papaya Cake and Strawberry Cake products. The affected products contain sulphites which are not declared on the label. For more details follow the link.

Vegan cheese recalled due to possible undeclared allergen

The US FDA has issued a product recall press release to confirm that: "PANOS brands, of Saddle Brook, NJ is recalling Vegan Rella Cheddar Block, (a cheese substitute) with a Sell by date of 12/09/2008. This product is being recalled because it may possibly contain an undeclared milk protein. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk protein run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product. No other lot or variety of Vegan is involved." Follow the link for more details

Wegmans recall sauce due to potential undeclared allergen

The US FDA has issued a food recall pres release to confirm that: "Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is initiating a voluntary recall of 24 oz. Wegmans Italian Classics Seasoned Tomato Sauce with a “use-by- date of 11/26/08”, UPC 77890 79010. The product is being recalled because the package may actually contain a milk ingredient which is not declared on the label. The recall of this product is of concern only to those individuals who have an allergy to milk. Consumption may cause a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction in persons with an allergy to milk. No other code dates are affected by this recall". Follow the link for more details

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Waitrose recalls bean mix due to allergen alert

The Food Standards Agency has issued an allergy alert to confirm that Waitrose Ltd has recalled a batch of Waitrose Wholesome 10 Bean Mix 500g due to the presence of undeclared gluten and barley as a result of a packaging error.Some packs may contain pulses, rice, and barley (a source of gluten). This makes the product a potential risk for people who are gluten intolerant or allergic to barley. Follow the link for more details.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Fray Bentos pies recalled due to metal contamination

The FSA has reported that Fray Bentos has recalled a batch of its own brand Minced Beef & Onion Pie (425g), due to pieces of metal being found in the product. The affected batch has only been supplied to Iceland stores.

Fray Bentos has recalled the affected batch from sale. Product recall notices will be displayed in all Iceland stores. These notices alert customers to the recall and advise them of what actions to take if they have purchased the product.

The product recalled is:

  • Fray Bentos Beef & Onion Pie, 425g
  • Best before end: June 2010
  • Batch code: 8169
For further details follow the links

Oats recalled due to potential contamination with flour beetles

The Food Standards Agency has issued a food alert because Quaker Oats has recalled a batch of their own brand 1.5kg carton of Quaker Oats Original and 1kg carton of Quaker 'Jumbo' Rolled Oats due to the potential presence of flour beetle (Tribolium confusum) in the product. For more details follow the link to the FSA website or to the product recall notice.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Melamine - list of products affected updated

The UK Food Standards Agency has updated the list of products tested in the UK and found to be contaminated with melamine. A further product has been added - follow the link to find out more.

Product recalled due to undeclared allergens

The US FDA has issued a press release to confirm that Seattle's Favorite Gourmet Cookies & Dessert Co. is recalling Orange Cranberry and Banana Nut Muffin Tops because they contain undeclared milk. Individuals who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk could have a serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. These products are not individually date coded. For further details click on the link.

Tortellini recalled for potential undeclared milk additive

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and AFC Food Group have issued a food allergen alert. They are warning people with allergies to milk not to consume Fresh 2 Go Beef Tortellini. The affected product may contain milk which is not declared on the label.

The code details are as follows:

"The affected product, Fresh 2 Go brand Beef Tortellini, is sold in 2 package sizes, 350 g bearing UPC 0 59749 87838 8, and 700 g bearing UPC 0 59749 87841 8. All Best Before date codes of this product are affected by this alert". Follow the link for more details.

This is the 300th food safety post!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Outbreak of E.coli in Southern Ontario

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is communicating with the public about its investigation into potential food sources connected with an E. coli outbreak in the Niagara, Halton, Waterloo and Guelph areas of Ontario.

They stated that "Although no common food source has yet been confirmed, local and provincial investigators along with the CFIA are studying whether the outbreak is linked to lettuce". Follow the link for more details.

Netto recalls shandy

The Food Standards Agency has issued a food alert because Netto Foodstores Ltd has recalled a batch of Starberg Shandy due to faulty bottles. There appears to be a fault to the neck of the bottle which is leading to an increased risk of breakage.

Country Life Spreadable recalled due to possible rubber contamination

The Food Standards Agency has issued a food alert to confirm that Dairy Crest Ltd has recalled two batch codes of Country Life Spreadable due to potential rubber contamination.Click on the link for more details.

Tesco recalls sponge puddings due to labelling error

The UK FSA has issued a food allergy alert to confirm that Tesco Stores Ltd has withdrawn a batch of 2 Spotted Dick Sponge Puddings due to undeclared egg. Jam sponge puddings, containing egg have been packed in the Spotted Dick Sponge Puddings packaging and egg is not declared on the label. This makes the product a potential risk for people who are allergic to egg. Follow the link for more details.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Cream product recalled

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Lucerne Foods (a division of Canada Safeway Limited) are warning people with allergies to egg proteins not to consume a batch of Lucerne 10% Half and Half Cream. This is because the affected product may contain egg which is not declared on the label.

Oil recalled due to potential botulism

The UK FSA has issued a food alert to confirm that Seymours of Norfolk Ltd has recalled all batches of infused olive oil products, due to the potential risk of botulism. Follow the link for more details.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Amy’s Kitchen Inc. Issues Allergy Alert and Voluntary National Recall due to Possible Undeclared Milk in Tofu Scramble in a Pocket Sandwich

The US FDA has issued a product recall news release to confirm that Amy's Kitchen Inc. of Santa Rosa, California is voluntarily recalling Tofu Scramble in a Pocket Sandwich Lot 10 H148, because of the presence of milk in a product that is labeled non-dairy. Follow the link for product details and further information.

Nestlé Withdraws Nestlé Farinha Lactea Cereal in the United States

The US FDA has issued the following product recall notice "Nestlé is withdrawing Nestlé Farinha Lactea cereal in the United States. Nestlé is taking this action as we have learned that the product may contain residual traces of a pesticide not currently approved for use on wheat in the U.S. While the pesticide is approved for use in Brazil and the noted levels are well below Brazilian standards, it is not used on wheat products in the United States and therefore there is no set standard for its presence in cereal. The pesticide is permitted in the United States on grain crops other than wheat".

Follow the link for more details.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Nestle recall strawberry powder due to potential contamination

The US FDA has issued a product recall news release to confirm that Nestlé USA is voluntarily recalling two production codes of Nestlé Nesquik Strawberry Powder 21.8 ounce. This is because the products may contain small fragments of aluminum.

The production codes that are printed on the bottom of each plastic container is a code of "82255880" or "82265880" with a best by date of "August 2010."

No other Nestlé Nesquik products or production codes of Nestlé Nesquik Strawberry Powder are affected by this recall. Follow the link for more details.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Non-dairy creamers contain milk

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning people with allergies to milk not to consume five batches of non-dairy Coffee Creamers and Coffee Mixes. The affected products contain milk which is not declared on the label. Follow the link for more details.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Cases of Listeria increase in the UK too

After the number of recent posts on the Listeria outbreak in Canada, the Independent has published an article on Listeria cases in the UK. The article focuses on the fact that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has stated that latest figures show there are 400 cases of Listeria a year, double the number seen in 2001 and a rise of a fifth in the past 12 months. Most of those cases have been in people aged 60 plus. Follow the link to read the full report.

Salmonella cases rise in Denmark

Eurosurveillance report that an outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium phage type U292 that has been ongoing in Denmark since 1 April, now has 1,054 cases that have been registered up until 23 October 2008. I last wrote an update in October when 400 cases had been identified. It further suggests that extensive investigations have not provided clear indications of a specific source of infection but the main hypothesis is that the vehicle of the outbreak are different pork products.

Meat recalled due to potential staphylococcus toxin

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Les Salaisons Desco Inc. are warning the public not to consume some pouches of Dunn’s Famous brand Smoked Meat because the product may be contaminated with Staphylococcus toxin.

The affected product, Dunn’s Famous brand Smoked Meat pouches, is sold in 1 kg boxes bearing UPC 4 00007 55699 7 and the Best Before Date 2008 NO 13. A Canada logo with the number 501 also appears on the outside of the box. The 1 kg boxes contain 6 plain wrapped 175 g smoked meat pouches.

Follow the link for more details.

UK Food Standards Agency changes alert mechanism for melamine contaminated products

The Food Standards Agency is changing its procedure for notifying local authorities about products contaminated with melamine in excess of the level permitted by Commission Decision 2008/798/EC but considered unlikely to be a risk to health. Follow the link to find out more

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Norovirus outbreak on cruise ship

The Telegraph reports that British holiday makers are among up to 400 passengers who have been quarantined on a cruise ship in Shanghai after the outbreak of norovirus. Follow the link for the full story.

Asda recalls breaded haddock fillets due to undeclared allergen

The Food Standards Agency have issued an Allergy Alert because "a number of Asda frozen Battered Haddock Fillets have been put in the Breaded Haddock Fillet packaging in error. The Battered Haddock Fillets contain milk which is not indicated on the label. This makes the product a potential health risk for people who are allergic to or intolerant of milk or milk constituents". Follow the link for more details

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Waitrose recalls pie due to incorrect date coding

The Food Standards Agency have issued a food alert because Waitrose has recalled its own-brand minced beef and onion pie due to incorrect date coding. The incorrect use-by date applied to the product is 09 Jan 2009 and it should have been 09 Nov 2008.Follow the link for more details.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Ham recalled due to possible Listeria contamination

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Mariposa Meats are warning the public not to consume Old Style brand Thin Sliced Honey Ham because the product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Follow the link to find out more about the batch details and additional information.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Soup recalled for potential undeclared allergens

The US FDA has issued a food alert press release to confirm that General Mills is voluntarily recalling a single day's production of Progresso Hearty Tomato soup. This is due to a product labelling issue. Product produced on this date may have been mislabeled, and may contain allergens not listed on the ingredient label, specifically egg, milk, and soy. The code is 19May10 NV VN-3 - follow the link for more details.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

More developments on melamine

Only a day ago I wrote about melamine and feed and I concluded that "Maybe in time this will be shown to go full circle link back to animal feed ingredients and/or gluten contamination". The BBC News have carried a report to say that animal feed is the likely source of the melamine and yesterday UPI News reported that "in the last two months, China has closed 238 animal feed companies for melamine-related violations and destroyed an estimated 3,682 tons of substandard feed". The International Herald Tribune have also written an interesting article on the subject. Every country has had its own issues with food safety that has linked back to animal feed contamination. In March I wrote a post about dioxin contamination of feed in 1999 and 2004. No country is immune from these problems and national and regional food standards agencies need to ensure that adequate monitoring and verification activities are in place to identify accidental as well as intentional contamination. First published at The Human Imprint.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Melamine and eggs

First it was gluten, pet food, then milk and now eggs that have been found to be contaminated with melamine. First the New York Times reported that Hong Kong inspectors have found that eggs imported from North East China are contaminated with melamine. The melamine level found was almost double the legal limit for food sold in Hong Kong.

Then CNN News reported that a second contaminated batch of eggs had been identified from a second supplier. CNN confirms that U.N. officials are concerned that melamine has been introduced to animal feed and that it may turn up in chicken, pork, farmed fish and other products. Maybe in time this will be shown to go full circle link back to animal feed ingredients and/or gluten contamination. Follow the links for more details. First published in The Human Imprint.

Biscuits recalled due to potential contamination with melamine

The US FDA has issued a recall press release to confirm that Everlasting Distributors Inc., is initiating a nationwide recall of all their 3.88oz (110gm) packages of Fresh and Crispy Jacobina Biscuits because it may be contaminated with Melamine. Product was distributed nationwide in Asian Grocery stores.

The product comes in 3.88oz (110 gm) blue and red color clear plastic package, labeled “JACOBINA”. Follow the link for more details.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

More chocolate products recalled

The Food Standards Agency has issued a Food Alert to confirm that Lucky Dip (Nottingham) Ltd has withdrawn certain batches of their own brand Christmas and Halloween Chocolate Pop products, which have been tested in the UK and found to be contaminated with melamine. The report states that:

The affected products were manufactured in Zhongshan, China, by Le Bang Chocolate Food Company, imported into the UK by Lucky Dip (Nottingham) Ltd and sold to a number of retail outlets in the UK. On 15 October 2008 the European Commission adopted Decision (2008/798/EC) requiring that any products originating in or consigned from China containing milk or milk products as an ingredient should be subject to documentary, identity and physical checks, including laboratory analysis, to determine that any levels of melamine present in the product do not exceed 2.5 mg/kg. Those products with more than 2.5mg/kg will be destroyed. The levels of melamine detected in Lucky Dip (Nottingham) Ltd products were 28.9mg/kg and 46.2mg/kg respectively.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Artichoke recall due to undeclared allergens

The US FDA has issued a product recall press release because Nonna's Real Italiana Cuccine of Slidell, LA is recalling a batch of stuffed artichokes because it contains milk, soy, and wheat that was not declared on the packaging. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk, soy, or wheat run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Series of listeria recalls in Canada

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume three types of Plaisirs Gastronomiques (PG) brand sandwiches because these products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Savco Food Services Ltd. are warning the public not to consume seven types of Savco brand sandwiches because these products may also be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The public warning issued on October 21, 2008 has been updated to include additional distribution information. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on the 22nd October warned the public not to consume ready-to-eat roast beef sold at certain deli counters in Ontario because these products may also be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Oickles Tasty Bites warned on 23rd October the public should not consume two types of Oickles Tasty Bites brand sandwiches because they too may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume ready-to-eat roast beef and sandwiches sold at certain stores in Atlantic Canada because the product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. This is a follow up recall resulting from the original recall incident of roast beef conducted by Les Salaisons Desco Inc. (EST 501).

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and William Davids Foods Limited are warning the public not to consume William Davids roast beef sandwiches described below because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

This is a follow up recall resulting from the original recall incident of roast beef conducted by Les Salaisons Desco Inc. (EST 501).

Samsono Ears and Tongue roll recalled due to Listeria

The UK FSA reports that:

"Lignesa Foods Ltd has recalled from sale all date codes of product labelled with 'Samsono' brand Ears and Tongue Roll due to contamination with high levels of Listeria monocytogenes.

The affected product was exported by JSC 'Samsonas' in Lithuania, imported into the UK by Lignesa Foods Ltd and distributed mainly to Eastern European specialty food shops. In addition, the Agency is also investigating whether this product could have been imported via other routes.

The levels of Listeria monocytogenes detected were up to 2.8 x 106 cfu/g, well above the legal limit of 100 cfu/g set in the Microbiological Criteria Regulation (EC) 2073/2005. Listeria monocytogenes was detected above the legal limit in 17 out of the 18 samples taken from a range of premises including the importer. Therefore, this product may pose a serious risk to human health". Follow the link for more details.

Tesco recall sausage meals due to undeclared allergen

The UK FSA has issued an allergy alert because Tesco has recalled some of its Prepared Sausage Meals due to incorrect allergen labelling information: Tesco Classic Bangers and Mash; Tesco Classic Lincolnshire Sausage with Cheddar; Bacon Bubble Squeak and Tesco Finest Classics 3 Cumberland Sausages with Fresh Mash. This is because the products contain small amounts of sulphur dioxide, which is not declared on the label. This makes this product a potential health risk for people who are sensitive to sulphur dioxide.Follow the link to find out more.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Gingerbread recalled due to undeclared allergen

The US FDA has issued a press release that Harry and David, of Medford, Oregon, is voluntarily recalling approximately 400 1 lb. 4 oz. boxes labeled Harry & David Moose Munch Confection, Milk Chocolate Gingerbread. This is because the package may contain a different Moose Munch product which contains pecans not declared on the ingredient statement. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to pecans run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

More chocolate recalled due to melamine

Spencer and Fleetwood have withdrawn certain varieties of chocolate novelty products due to contamination with melamine according to the UK FSA. The novelty products were manufactured in Zhongshan, China by Le Bang Chocolate Food Company, imported into the UK by Spencer and Fleetwood and sold to a number of retail outlets in the UK. Follow the link for more details.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Scobe (Llarn) Ltd recall novelty products

The UK FSA has reported that Scobie (Llarn) Ltd has withdrawn certain varieties of novelty products that have been tested in the UK and found to be contaminated with melamine.

The FSA reports that "The affected products were manufactured in Zhongshan, China by Le Bang and imported in the UK by Scobie (Llarn) Ltd and sold to a number of Ann Summers premises in the UK.

On 15 October 2008 the European Commission adopted a decision (2008/798/EC) stating that any products from China containing milk or milk products as an ingredient are currently subject to documentary, identity and physical checks, including laboratory analysis, to determine that any levels of melamine present in the product do not exceed 2.5 mg/kg. Those products with more than 2.5mg/kg will be destroyed. The levels of melamine detected in these products were 126mg/kg,153mg/kg and 259mg/kg respectively."

Follow the link for more details.

Cookies recalled due to concern over melamine

The US FDA has issued a press release to confirm that Lotte USA, Inc., has initiated a recall of all Koalas' March Cookies on September 29, 2008 because they were produced in China and they may be contaminated with melamine. Nine products are affected. Follow the link for more details.

Peppers recalled for undeclared allergens

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued an allery alert to warn individuals who are sensitive to sulphites not to consume Cedar Phoenicia brand Greek Golden Peppers. This is because the product contains sulphites which are not declared on the label. For more coding information follow the link.

Beverage recalled due to melamine

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a health hazard alert to confirm that Haofine International Trading Inc. and the CFIA are warning the public not to consume a batch of Mengniu strawberry flavour sour milk beverage. This product is being recalled because melamine test results have proved positive. Follow the link for more details.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Burgers recalled due to undeclared allergens

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning people with allergies to sesame seeds and/or soy not to consume New World Natural Foods Tofu Burgers, Vegi Burgers and Lentil Burgers. This is because the three affected products contain sesame seeds or soy and this is not declared on the label. Fore more details click on the link.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Products recalled due to undeclared sulphite

The US FDA has issued a recall press release to confirm that JFC International, Inc. is recalling all products of Kyosai Sengiri Daikon (40/3.50z) due to the present of undeclared sulphite. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to sulfite run the risk of life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product. Follow the link for more details.

Chips recalled due to potential undeclared milk protein

The US FDA has issued a press release to confirm that Barry Callebaut USA LLC is conducting a voluntary recall on its product sold by Kroger Stores under the brand "Kroger Value Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips", 12 oz., UPC Code is 11110–86603 and "sell by" date May 30, 2010. This is because the product may contain undeclared milk protein. Click on the link for more details.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Melamine recall

The US FDA has issued a product recall release to confirm that HUA XIA Food Trade USA, Inc. of Flushing, NY, is recalling YILI Brand Sour Milk Drink packaged in 250ml flexible paperboard boxes (all codes and all lots are affected) and YILI Brand Pure Milk Drink packaged in 250ml flexible paperboard boxes (all codes and all lots are affected) because it may be contaminated with melamine.

Bread recalled for undeclared nuts

The US FDA have issued a press release notice to confirm that Arnold Foods Company, Inc. is recalling a batch of BROWNBERRY brand Whole Grains BREAD 100% WHOLE WHEAT (1 LB 8 OZ) because it may contain undeclared almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts. People who have an allergy to these nuts run the risk of life threatening or serious allergic reactions if they consume the product. Follow the link for more details