Recap of Recent Recalls
From December 25, 2018: Food Safety News takes a look back at the most significant recalls in the United States in 2018. As in past years, our year-end coverage is not merely a list of individual stories by individual writers. Generally, significant events are the other way around. Multiple stories by multiple writers are usually involved in our recall coverage, especially when illnesses or multiple companies are involved. It takes a newsroom — not solo work — to give readers the information they have come to expect from us.
Some of the biggest food recall news of 2018 didn’t come from a food producer or distributor. And, it didn’t force consumers to check their cupboards or refrigerators for potentially poisonous food. It came from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in September when he announced the agency would begin publicly disclosing retail locations that may have sold or distributed recalled food — in some circumstances.
The shift away from protecting “confidential corporate information” and toward public safety is so significant it made our Top 10 list of food safety news stories for 2018.
Another headline out of the Food and Drug Administration’s 2018 recall file was “the agency’s first-ever mandatory recall order,” Gottlieb said in a Late November statement about the FDA’s investigation of contamination of kratom products and dozens of related illnesses. The kratom situation, which included multiple recalls and a Salmonella outbreak, also earned a spot on the Food Safety News Top 10 list for the year.
Other big recall news in the “Year of the Dog” involved millions of eggs, millions of pounds of meat and poultry, an unrevealed volume of food under the FDA’s jurisdiction, and, somewhat ironically, a number of dog food recalls. Here, in no particular order, are some of the most noteworthy recalls initiated in 2018.
It wasn’t an official recall, but many growers and others in the romaine supply chain launched a voluntary “market withdrawal” of all forms and brands of the popular leafy green two days before Thanksgiving. The action was at the request of the FDA, which announced the third E. coli outbreak in 12 months on Nov. 20. Hundreds of people in the United States and Canada fell ill in the three outbreaks. At least five people died.
Outbreak investigators found the outbreak strain of E. coli O157: H7 involved in the fall outbreak in the sediment of an irrigation pond on Adam Brothers Farm in Santa Maria, CA. The romaine harvest was well over by December when the contamination was confirmed, but in mid-December, the family-owned farm recalled red and green leaf lettuces and cauliflower in relation to the contaminated pond.
In October, JBS Tolleson Inc., a beef producer in Arizona that is part of the multi-national Brazilian company JBS S.A., recalled 6.5 million pounds of ground beef because of links to a Salmonella outbreak. The company expanded the recall in December to a total of more than 12 million pounds. As of Dec. 12, there were 333 people with confirmed Salmonella Newport infections across 28 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jennie-O ground turkey
Although the CDC first announced a Salmonella outbreak traced to raw turkey in July, there weren’t any related turkey recalls until Nov. 15 when Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales in Barron, WI, recalled more than 91,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products. On Dec. 21 a Jennie-O Store Sales location in Faribault, MN, recalled more than 164,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the CDC report the outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products, and live turkeys. A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified that could account for the whole outbreak. As of Dec. 21, the CDC was reporting 216 people with confirmed Salmonella infections, including one death, across 38 states.
On April 13, 2018, Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, IN, voluntarily recalled more than 206 million shell eggs because they were implicated in a Salmonella outbreak bacteria. Three days later Cal-Maine Foods Inc. voluntarily recalled more than 280,000 eggs it had purchased from Rose Acre Farms. The CDC reported 45 people were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella across 10 states.
In September, Gravel Ridge Farms in Cullman County, AL, recalled eggs because of Salmonella. Forty-four people across 11 states were infected. The FDA put its new policy to work, listing some retailers that carried the Gravel Ridge Farms eggs.
McCain Foods USA Inc.
At least a half-dozen companies recalled more than 755 tons of food products because they contained ingredients from a McCain Foods production facility in Colton, CA. The factory produces fire roasted caramelized or sauteed frozen fruit and vegetable products.
In a news release, McCain said it “identified a potential health risk” to its product line at Colton. The company was not exact about its problem at Colton when it originated, the volume of food involved, or where it was distributed.
The products were sold in Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Walmart, Kroger and Target stores across the country. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service reported more than a dozen food manufacturers in the U.S. received vegetables from McCain that were potentially contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.
When Walmart and Kroger pulled fresh-cut melon products from their shelves because they were implicated in a Salmonella outbreak, it took supplier Caito Foods 48 hours to initiate a recall of the fresh fruit. The volume of precut fruit products involved was not disclosed.
Caito distributed the fresh-cut products, packaged with generic labels, to Costco, JayC, Kroger, Payless, Owen’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Walmart, and Whole Foods/Amazon. The CDC reported 77 people were confirmed ill in the related outbreak.
Del Monte fresh vegetable trays
An outbreak of infections from the Cyclospora parasite spurred Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc. to recall vegetable trays containing fresh broccoli, cauliflower, celery sticks, carrots, and dill dip in mid-June. Neither the company nor the FDA reported how many pounds were recalled.
Del Monte distributed the vegetable-dip trays to retailers including Kwik Trip, Kwik Star, Demond’s, Sentry, Potash, Meehan’s, Country Market, Food Max Supermarket and Peapod. The CDC reported 250 people in four states were confirmed with the parasitic infections.
Also because of Cyclospora parasite infections, McDonald’s pulled an undisclosed number of salads from restaurants in 14 states in July. Ingredients for the salads were distributed by Caito Foods, but were produced by Fresh Express.
Caito Foods officials told the FDA that Fresh Express had notified it of a product recall involving romaine that could be contaminated with the parasites. FDA issued a public alert after Cyclospora was confirmed in Fresh Express product, but the romaine-carrot mix was past its shelf life at that point. When the outbreak was declared over, there had been 511 people across 16 states confirmed with Cyclospora infections.
Retailers including Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Walgreens removed salads and wraps from their shelves because of the situation.
Reason for Recall: Salmonella Reading (12/21/2018)
Product: raw ground turkey products
Details: Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Hormel Consumer Engagement, at (800) 621-3505. Media with questions regarding the recall can contact Media Relations at, firstname.lastname@example.org or (507) 434 6352.
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.
The newly recalled raw ground turkey items were produced on Oct. 22 and 23, 2018. The following products are subject to recall:
- 3-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with “Use or freeze by” dates of 11/12/18 and 11/13/18 on the side of the trays.
- 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with “Use or freeze by” dates of 11/12/18 on the side of the trays.
- 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O TACO SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with “Use or freeze by” dates of 11/12/18 on the side of the trays.
- 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O ITALIAN SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with “Use or freeze by” dates of 11/12/18 on the side of the trays.
- 3-lb. packages of “Jennie-O Ground Turkey 85% LEAN | 15% FAT” with a “Use or freeze by” date of 11/13/18 on the side of the trays.
- 2.5-lb. packages of “Jennie-O Ground Turkey 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with a “Use or freeze by” date of 11/13/18 on the side of the trays.
- 3-lb. packages of “STATER BROS. 85% LEAN | 15% FAT ALL NATURAL Ground Turkey” with a “Use or freeze by” date of 11/12/18 on the side of the trays.
The recalled products have the establishment number “EST. P-579” printed inside the USDA mark of inspection or on the side of the package trays.
CDC also report in its Dec. 21 update that:
- As of Dec. 18, there have been 216 people from 38 states and the District of Columbia confirmed with infections from the outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading.
- 84 people have been hospitalized, and one death has been reported from California.
- Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that raw turkey products from a variety of sources are contaminated with Salmonella Reading and are making people sick.
- In interviews, ill people reported eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different locations. Three ill people lived in households where raw turkey pet food was fed to pets.
- The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw turkey pet food, raw turkey products, and live turkeys.
- On Nov. 15, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales in Barron, WI, recalled 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey products.
- On Dec. 21, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales LLC, in Faribault, MN, recalled 164,210 pounds of raw ground turkey products.
- A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified that could account for the whole outbreak.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified ill people infected with the same DNA fingerprint of Salmonella Reading bacteria in Canada.
- The outbreak strain of Salmonella Reading is present in live turkeys and in many types of raw turkey products, indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry. CDC and USDA-FSIS have shared this information with representatives from the turkey industry and asked about steps that they may be taking to reduce Salmonella contamination.
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Reason for Recall: Listeria monocytogenes (12/26/2018)
Company: Apio Inc. of Guadalupe, California
Product: Eat Smart® Salad Shake Ups™ single-serve bowls
Details: Consumers with questions may contact Apio’s toll-free number at 1-800-626-2746, Monday through Friday from 9:00am – 5:00 pm Pacific Time or visit its website at https://www.eatsmart.net.
The affected product is sold as a single-serve bowl with the lot code stamped on the side of the bowl and the UPC code printed on the bottom. The affected product includes:
|Product Name||UPC Code||Best Before Date||Lot Code|
|Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups single-serve bowl – Asian Sesame/Sésame Asiatique||UPC 7 09351 30244 2||Best Before Date of Dec 29, 2018||Lot 112 346|
|Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups single-serve bowl – Sweet Kale/Chou Frisé Doux||UPC 7 09351 30243 5||Best Before Date of Dec 29, 2018||Lot 112 346|
|Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups single-serve bowl – Tropical Lime/Lime Tropicale||UPC 7 09351 30197 1||Best Before Date of Dec 29, 2018||Lot 112 346|
|Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups single-serve bowl – Asian Sesame||UPC 7 09351 30241 1||Best Before Date of Dec 29, 2018||Lot 112 346|
|Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups single-serve bowl – Avocado Ranch||UPC 7 09351 30177 3||Best Before Date of Dec 29, 2018||Lot 112 346|
|Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups single-serve bowl – Raspberry Acai||UPC 7 09351 30178 0||Best Before Date of Dec 29, 2018||Lot 112 346|
|Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups single-serve bowl – Sweet Kale||UPC 7 09351 30240 4||Best Before Date of Dec 29, 2018||Lot 112 346|
|Eat Smart Salad Shake Ups single-serve bowl – Tropical Lime||UPC 7 09351 30179 7||Best Before Date of Dec 29, 2018||Lot 112 346|
Regions: US/Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas + Canada/Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan
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Reason for Recall: Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella (12/25/2018)
Company: Columbia River Natural Pet Foods Inc.
Product: frozen raw meats for dogs and cats
Details: Consumers who purchased the product should discontinue use of the product and return for a full refund or exchange by returning the product in its original packaging to place of purchase. For more information, contact the company at 360-834-6854.
The recalled products, which are sold to consumers frozen and are intended to be fed raw to dogs and cats, include:
- Cow Pie in 2-pound purple and white plastic bags; Lot #72618; produced in July 2018
- Chicken & Vegetables in 2-pound turquoise and white plastic bags; Lot #111518; produced in November 2018
Regions: US/Alaska, Oregon and Washington
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