From AP.  Stunning, just stunning.  I can not keep up with the FDA recall list.  Nancy Luna from the OC Register has created her own recall database.  So far, the Food and Drug Administration has listed 181 products recalled nationwide because they contain peanuts or peanut paste linked to a salmonella outbreak traced to the Peanut Corporation of America.  More than 50 new products were added to the list today.

If this does not catch President Obama’s attention, I do not know what will.  Hey, Mr. President, call me, I’ll work for peanuts.  From my friends at obamafoodorama – a clear perspective:

If every man, woman, and child who packed the National Mall on Obama’s Inauguration Day had carried fifteen pounds of peanut butter in their prohibited backpacks, that would be about the amount of poisoned product that’s currently been recalled for Salmonella Typhimurium.

New numbers from the CDC – 488 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 43 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Arizona (10), Arkansas (4), California (62), Colorado (12), Connecticut (9), Georgia (6), Hawaii (3), Idaho (11), Illinois (5), Indiana (4), Iowa (2), Kansas (2), Kentucky (3), Maine (4), Maryland (8), Massachusetts (42), Michigan (25), Minnesota (35), Missouri (9), Mississippi (3), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (11), New Jersey (19), New York (18), Nevada (5), North Carolina (6), North Dakota (10), Ohio (65), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (14), Rhode Island (4), South Dakota (2), Tennessee (9), Texas (6), Utah (5), Vermont (4), Virginia (20), Washington (13), West Virginia (2), Wisconsin (3), and Wyoming (2). Additionally, one ill person was reported from Canada.  Among the persons with confirmed, reported dates available, illnesses began between September 8, 2008 and January 8, 2009. Patients range in age from <1 to 98 years; 48% are female. Among persons with available information, 22% reported being hospitalized. Infection may have contributed to six deaths.

Please note – actual ill likely as high as 18,837:  "Overall, we estimated that there were 38.6 cases of Salmonella for each culture‚Äêconfirmed case.  "FoodNet Estimate of the Burden of Illness Caused by Nontyphoidal Salmonella Infections in the United States"  Clinical Infectious Diseases, April 2004.

More products with Peanut Butter in them are being recalled.  Frankly, it is hard to keep up on the company press releases – The FDA is sure "doing a heck of a job" of keeping them in one place – see Link.  efoodalert is doing an even better job at keeping up (full time job) – see Link.

* Clif Bar & Company Announces Voluntary Nationwide Recall of CLIF® and LUNA® Branded Bars Containing Peanut Butter Due to Possible Health Risk (January 19)

* Kroger Recalls Select Ice Cream Products Due to Possible Health Risk (January 19)

* Abbott Nutrition Announces Voluntary Recall of ZonePerfect® Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, ZonePerfect® Peanut Toffee Bars and NutriPals™ Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars in U.S., Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore (January 19)

* Meijer Announces Voluntary Recall for Some Meijer Brand Peanut Butter Crackers and Ice Cream Because of Possible Health Risk (January 19)

* Peanut Corporation of America Expands Nationwide Recall of Peanut Butter (January 18)

* Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products, Inc. recalls Food Lion Bake Shop brand PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES (January 18)

* South Bend Chocolate Company Recalls Various Candys Containing Peanut Butter Because of Possible Salmonella Contamination (January 18)

* Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products Recalls Food Lion Bake Shop Peanut Butter Cookies Nationwide Because of Possible Health Risk (January 18)

* McKee Foods Corporation Announces Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Little Debbie® Peanut Butter Toasty and Peanut Butter Cheese Sandwich Crackers Because of Possible Health Risk (January 18)

* Perry’s Ice Cream Company Announces Voluntary Recall of Select Peanut Butter Ice Cream Products Due to Possible Health Risk (January 17)

* Hy-Vee Inc. Recalls Bakery Products With Peanut Butter Distributed in Seven States Due to Possible Health Risk (January 17)

* Peanut Corporation of America Expands Nationwide Recall of Peanut Butter (January 16)

* Kellogg Company Announces Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Austin® and Keebler® Branded Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers and Select Snack-Size Packs of Famous Amos® And Keebler® Soft Batch Peanut Butter Cookies Because of Possible Health Risk (January 16)

* Peanut Corporation of America Announces Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Peanut Butter (January 13)

* King Nut Issues Peanut Butter Recall (January 10)

Now, let’s get them off the shelves.

On January 16 Kellogg Company Announced  the Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Austin® and Keebler® Branded Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers and Select Snack-Size Packs of Famous Amos® And Keebler® Soft Batch Peanut Butter Cookies Because of Possible Health Risk.  Guess what I bought all of at the gas station today?

Based on available information, CDC and FDA recommendations include:

For Consumers

* Do not eat products that have been recalled and throw them away in a manner that prevents others from eating them.

* Postpone eating other peanut butter containing products (such as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream) until information becomes available about whether that product may be affected.

* Persons who think they may have become ill from eating peanut butter are advised to consult their health care providers.

For Retailers

* Stop selling recalled products (unless Marler is buying them).

For Directors of Institutions and Food Service Establishments

* Ensure that they are not serving recalled products.

For Manufacturers

* Inform consumers about whether their products could contain peanut butter or peanut paste from Peanut Corporation of America (PCA).  If a manufacturer knows their products do not contain peanut paste from PCA, they should inform consumers of that.

To date, no association has been found with major national brand name jars of peanut butter sold in grocery stores.

Yesterday, "[t]he FDA urged consumers on Saturday to avoid eating peanut butter and products that contain it until they can determine the scope of an outbreak of Salmonella food poisoning that may have contributed to six deaths."  Also, on the FDA website it lists products that have been recalled by companies:

* South Bend Chocolate Company Recalls Various Candys Containing Peanut Butter Because of Possible Salmonella Contamination (January 18)

* Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products Recalls Food Lion Bake Shop Peanut Butter Cookies Nationwide Because of Possible Health Risk (January 18)

* McKee Foods Corporation Announces Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Little Debbie® Peanut Butter Toasty and Peanut Butter Cheese Sandwich Crackers Because of Possible Health Risk (January 18)

* Perry’s Ice Cream Company Announces Voluntary Recall of Select Peanut Butter Ice Cream Products Due to Possible Health Risk (January 17)

* Hy-Vee Inc. Recalls Bakery Products With Peanut Butter Distributed in Seven States Due to Possible Health Risk (January 17)

* Peanut Corporation of America Expands Nationwide Recall of Peanut Butter (January 16)

* Kellogg Company Announces Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Austin® and Keebler® Branded Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers and Select Snack-Size Packs of Famous Amos® And Keebler® Soft Batch Peanut Butter Cookies Because of Possible Health Risk (January 16)

* Peanut Corporation of America Announces Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Peanut Butter (January 13)

* King Nut Issues Peanut Butter Recall (January 10)

My suggestion is to not eat ANY peanut butter products or products that contain peanut butter until things become a bit clearer.

I am calling on the FDA to request recalls of foods containing peanut butter products manufactured in the Peanut Corporation of America’s (PCA) Blakely, GA plant. Tests have shown that product produced in the facility carries the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium, which has sickened at least 453 people in 43 states and Canada and may have contributed to six deaths.

“At least thirty companies purchased peanut butter or paste from a facility with a documented link to a nation-wide Salmonella outbreak,” said Marler. “The FDA has the authority – actually, the mandate – to request recalls if the public health is threatened. Instead, the FDA has asked the companies to test their products and consider voluntary recalls. It is just not enough.”

The earliest illnesses were documented in September, 2008 and have stretched over a 4-month period. At least 90 people have been hospitalized. Six people have had the outbreak strain when they died, and it is thought that the Salmonella infection contributed to their deaths.

“The CDC estimates that for every documented Salmonella illness, there are another 38 people who just “tough it out” and don’t go to the doctor or are never tested. That means that this outbreak may have sickened more than 15,000 people. It is the FDA’s responsibility to make sure that it doesn’t sicken anyone else.”

I have laid out specific recommendations over the last week:

• Make sure ALL product is promptly recalled;‚Ä®
• Do not destroy any documents;‚Ä®
• The companies should pay the medical bills and all related expenses of the innocent victims and their families;‚Ä®
• The companies should pay the cost of all related Health Department, CDC and FDA investigations;‚Ä®
• Provide all bacterial and viral testing of all recalled product and any other tested product (before and after recall);‚Ä®
• Release all inspection reports on the plants by any Governmental Entity or Third-party Auditor;
• Release all Salmonella safety precautions taken by either King Nut or Peanut Corporation of America – especially after the 2007 Salmonella Peanut Butter Outbreak;‚Ä®
• Provide the public with the Epidemiological investigation (with names redacted), so it is clear who knew what and when about the likely source of the outbreak; and
• Show the public what is being done to prevent the next outbreak.

“Not all companies will be as proactive as Kellogg’s in recalling their product, Marler continued.  “Which is why we have a government agency to make sure public health is always the first priority. The FDA needs to take swift and decisive action to get potentially contaminated products out of circulation.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for approximately 14,800 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, that were produced by Texas American Food Service Corporation, a Fort Worth, Texas, establishment doing business as American Fresh Foods. This public health alert was initiated after a trailer containing the products was reported stolen by the company.  The consumer products subject to this public health alert include:

  • 2-pound approximate weight packages of "73/27 GROUND BEEF" bearing a sell-by date of "12.30.07"
  • 2-pound approximate weight packages of "80/20 GROUND BEEF CHUCK" bearing a sell-by date of "12.31.07"
  • 1-pound approximate weight packages of "85/15 GROUND BEEF ROUND" bearing a sell-by date of "12.31.07"
  • 1-pound approximate weight packages of "90/10 GROUND BEEF SIRLOIN" bearing a sell-by date of "12.31.07"
  • 1-pound approximate weight packages of "96/04 EXTRA LEAN GROUND BEEF, 4% FAT" bearing a sell-by date of "12.31.07"

Each package label bears the establishment number "EST. 13116" inside the USDA mark of inspection and the company name "American Fresh Foods, Ft. Worth, TX 76102" below the nutrition information. Each package has a net weight of approximately 1 to 2 pounds.  Bulk product also subject to this health alert include:

* 40-pound "net wt." box of "73/27 100% GROUND BEEF; REWORK MAP"
* 260-pound "net wt." combo bin of " CHUCK 100% GROUND BEEF; REWORK MAP"
* 370-pound "net wt." combo bin of "SIRLOIN 100% GROUND BEEF; REWORK"

Each bulk product label bears the establishment number "EST. 13116" inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as a date of "12-19-07" with the production information filled in by hand.

WAIT – how did anyone know that the meat that was stolen was contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

UPDATE – Well, I did not have to wait long for an answer.  According to a press release from the company this morning:

FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 28 /PRNewswire/ — American Fresh Foods in Ft. Worth, Texas, is urging Texas consumers not to purchase its ground beef under questionable circumstances. This precaution comes after the company reported, early the morning of December 27, the theft of one of its refrigerated trucks containing 14,800 pounds of ground beef products. According to American Fresh Foods’ officials, the stolen meat had been placed in a refrigerated truck and held on the plant’s property. The product, a portion of which had been segregated as possibly affected with E. coli O157:H7, was being removed from fresh commercial sale.

I guess I could have called or emailed FSIS’s Karen?


I’m Karen, the FSIS Virtual Representative. I am an automated response system, available 24/7.  I can answer questions from the public about the prevention of foodborne illness, as well as the safe handling, preparation, and storage of meat, poultry, and egg products, from an extensive database of food safety information.

AP reported that 5,500 pounds of "Green Paradise" brand basil has been recalled. The basil was shipped in sets of 12 one-pound boxes marked with lot No. 1219. The basil grown in Mexico and sold in the United States has been recalled because of fears it may be infected with Salmonella. The basil was imported from a farm in Mexico’s southern Baja California region on December 5th and sold to food distributors in California, Texas and Illinois the following day by Top Line Specialty Produce in California. Top Line sold the basil to restaurants and other food service customers, but it was unknown whether the other distributors sold to food service customers or retailers.

It is clear that this in not the first time Basil has been linked to recalls and illnesses.  AP reported in May 2004 that Federal regulators are alerting consumers that raw basil and spring mix salad may be linked to food-poisoning outbreaks that reportedly sickened more than 90 people in Illinois and Texas.  In August 2005, the FDA Notified Processors of Recall of Fancy Whole Basil Due to Possible Health Risk. The FDA advised processors and repackers that Majestic International Spice Corporation of Montebello, CA, recalled its dried “Extra Fancy Basil” spice in 12.5 kilogram bags because FDA found the product contaminated with Salmonella Blockley.  Contaminated fresh basil was suspected as the most likely cause of an outbreak of the parasitic illness cyclospora that has sickened 300 Floridians in October 2005.  And in May 2007, the British Food Standards Agency advised people who bought certain batches of fresh packets of basil from ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Somerfield stores not to eat them.

All that being said, the BBC reported in June 2003 that a Basil Herb wrap wards off food poisoning.

The herb basil is the crucial ingredient in a super wrap being developed to protect food more effectively from contamination by dangerous bugs. Scientists are using anti-microbial extracts from the herb to create a plastic wrapper for meat and cheese. The chemicals slowly ooze out from the wrapper – and extend the product’s shelf-life by killing off bacteria such as E. coli and listeria which can cause severe food poisoning.

Goes to show that you can find anything on the internet – thanks, Al Gore.  Interestingly, South Dakota has seen an increase in salmonella cases according to a warning from the State Health Department following a spike in salmonella cases this year.

I read the headline of Julie Schmit’s article in USA TODAY and had the overwhelming desire to say “duhh!” as my 15-year-old often says of me to me. I then read further:

The federal government may move to keep meat off the market until its tests confirm the meat doesn’t have harmful bacteria, a step that officials say could have prevented some of this year’s 53 meat recalls. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates meat and poultry, may require meat producers to hold product that’s been routinely tested by the government until test results come back, says Kenneth Petersen, assistant administrator for the USDA. "It’s not in anybody’s interest to do all of these recalls."

“Test and Hold.” All that I can say is my daughter is right.

As the number of Cargill-related E. coli recalls has grown, we have pulled a few of our past E. coli battles with Cargill and its many subsidiaries. We have spent a bit of time over the years with Cargill and its lawyers.

A bit more history about Cargill – In 1995 Cargill announced the “End of E. coli” in the pages of the New York Times. Now, 12 years later it has recalled nearly 2,000,000 pounds of hamburger (that is nearly enough to give every New Yorker a quarter pounder) in October and November recalls.  Jane Genova, fellow blog addict, posted twice on what "Big Beef" needs to do to fix the problem and the PR.  This post also warranted a post by a top-shelf Florida Law Blogger – Labovick – entitled "Cargill-beef-recall-is-a-walk-down-memory-lane"

Cargill Meat Solutions is the umbrella organization of Cargill’s beef, pork and turkey businesses. A key part of Cargill Meat Solutions was Excel Corporation, which began business nearly 70 years ago and grew from a Midwestern beef company to also include pork, processed meats, case ready meats and food distribution centers. Follow the Timeline:

Continue Reading Cargill, getting reacquainted with the Enemy

For some reason I could not sleep and woke-up quite early this morning to this in my in box – Cargill Meat Solutions Recalls Ground Beef Action due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination.  I then saw the following press release from Cargill Meat Solutions [YOU MUST WONDER WHY THEY SEND OUT THE PRESS RELEASE ON A SATURDAY MORNING – PERHAPS NO ONE WILL NOTICE?]:

Cargill s voluntarily recalling approximately 1,084,384 pounds of ground beef produced at its Wyalusing, Pa., Cargill Regional Beef facility because of the possible presence of E. coli O157:H7. The ground beef products subject to recall were produced at the Wyalusing plant between Oct. 8 and 11, 2007, and were distributed to retailers nationwide.  Cargill learned of the possibility of contamination after the U.S. Department of Agriculture returned [WHEN WAS IT RETURNED] a confirmed positive on a sample of product produced Oct. 8, 2007.  Each package or label bears the establishment number “Est. 9400” inside the USDA mark of inspection. As the use/freeze-by dates for products subject to this recall have expired, consumers are urged to look in their freezers for these products and return or discard them if found.  In addition to the above listed products, there are various weights and varieties of ground beef, ground chuck, and ground sirloin product that were distributed for further processing and repackaging and will not bear the same establishment number on the package [MEANS – WE HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THE REST OF THIS STUFF IS].

This from the Company that wants to sell you "Fake Red Meat."  Yesterday I was retained by two more families of two additional HUS victims of the earlier Cargill 1 million pound recall.  Products subject to this new recall are: 

Also, remember Cargill’s 1 million pound recall from last month?  In that one Cargill products were sold at retail establishments, including Sam’s Club, and to restaurants and other institutions throughout the United States.  Since the investigation into that recall began in Minnesota, E. coli illnesses tied to Cargill ground beef products have been identified in Minnesota (5), Wisconsin (5), North Carolina (2) and Tennessee (3).  I think we can correctly assume that the numbers of ill people will continue to climb both from last months recall and from this months – another "million pound month."

Continue Reading Cargill recalls over 1 million pounds of ground beef – again