The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert out of an abundance of caution due to concerns about contamination with Cyclospora. The beef, pork and poultry salad and wrap products were distributed by Caito Foods LLC, an Indianapolis, Ind. establishment.

The beef, pork and poultry salad and wrap items were produced between July 15 to 18, 2018, with the either “Best By,” “Enjoy by,” Best if Sold By” or “Sell By” dates ranging from July 18 through July 23, 2018. [View Label (PDF only)]

The complete list of products, product labels, the UPC code numbers and other identifying information can be found here.

The products bear establishment number “EST. 39985 or P-39985” inside or next to the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to distribution centers nationwide.

The problem was discovered when Caito Foods LLC received notification from their lettuce supplier, Fresh Express, that the chopped romaine that is used to manufacture some of their salads and wraps was being recalled.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ refrigerators and that consumers may be at risk due to the length of the Cyclospora incubation period. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase. Caito Foods LLC and FSIS are working together to remove the products from commerce.

Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider. Cyclospora infection is an illness cause by the intestinal parasite, Cyclospora cayetanensis. The incubation period for Cyclospora ranges from two to 14 days, which would include the dates of July 25 through August 6, 2018. Illnesses might not have been reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. For Cyclospora infections this could take up to six weeks.

As of July 24, 2018, 77 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Adelaide were reported from nine states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from April 30, 2018, to July 2, 2018. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 year to 97, with a median age of 67. Among ill people, 67% were female. Out of 70 people with information available, 36 (51%) were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicated that pre-cut melon supplied by the Caito Foods, LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana was the likely source of this multistate outbreak.

Information collected from stores where ill people shopped indicated that Caito Foods, LLC supplied pre-cut melon to these stores. On June 8, 2018, Caito Foods, LLC recalled fresh-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and fresh-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons that were produced at the Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Pepperidge Farm has been notified by one of its ingredient suppliers that whey powder in a seasoning that is applied to four varieties of crackers has been the subject of a recall by the whey powder manufacturer due to the potential presence of Salmonella.  Pepperidge Farm initiated an investigation and, out of an abundance of caution, is voluntarily recalling four varieties of Goldfish crackers. The products were distributed throughout the United States. No illnesses have been reported. No other Pepperidge Farm products in the U.S. are subject to this recall.

The following four varieties with the indicated codes are subject to this recall:

  • Flavor Blasted® Xtra Cheddar
  • Flavor Blasted® Sour Cream & Onion
  • Goldfish® Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar
  • Goldfish® Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel

As a precautionary measure, Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO) is voluntarily recalling Swiss Rolls sold under the brand names Mrs. Freshley’s, Food Lion, H-E-B, Baker’s Treat, Market Square, and Great Value, distributed nationwide, and Captain John Derst’s Old Fashioned Bread distributed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, due to the potential presence of Salmonella in an ingredient, whey powder. The ingredient recall was initiated by a third-party whey powder manufacturer and supplier. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the recalled items. See below for list of UPC #s and “best by” dates.

The recalled products are:

BRAND UPC # BEST BY / ENJOY BY DATES
Mrs. Freshley’s – 4 ct./7.2 oz. 072250011907 10/09/18 through 10/19/18 309 8187 A 75 D
309 8187 B 75 D
309 8190 C 75 D
309 8194 B 75 D
309 8194 C 75 D
Mrs. Freshley’s – 6 ct./12 oz. 072250903233 10/14/18
309 8194 B 75 D
Food Lion – 6 ct./13 oz. 035826092779 10/16/18
H-E-B – 6 ct./12 oz. 041220296583 09/19/18
Baker’s Treat – 6 ct./13 oz. 041498188382 09/21/18 through 09/28/18
Market Square – 6 ct./12 oz. 087381760556 309 8194 B
Great Value – 6 ct./13 oz. 078742147550 Sep 17 2018 Through Sep 25 2018
309 8191 B
Captain John Derst’s
Old Fashioned Bread
071316001180 07/16/18 through 7/28/18

Mondelēz Global LLC announced today a voluntary recall in the United States, including Puerto Rico & the U.S. Virgin Islands, of certain Ritz Cracker Sandwiches and Ritz Bits productThese products contain whey powder as an ingredient, which the whey powder supplier has recalled due to the potential presence of Salmonella.

This recall is limited exclusively to the products listed in the grid below, available at retail stores nationwide. No other Mondelēz Global LLC product is included in this recall.

Description Retail UPC Best When Used By Dates Package Image
RITZ BITS CHEESE
BIG BAG
3 OZ
0 44000 00677 8 07 MAR 19
Thru
13 APR 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
RITZ BITS CHEESE
1 OZ
0 44000 02025 5 07 MAR 19
Thru
13 APR 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
RITZ BITS CHEESE
12 PACK CARTON
0 44000 02032 3 08 MAR 19
thru
13 APR 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
RITZ BITS CHEESE
30 PACK CARTON
0 44000 01309 7 03 MAR 19
thru
13 APR 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
RITZ BITS CHEESE
1.5 OZ
0 44000 00929 8 03 MAR 19
thru
13 APR 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
RITZ BITS CHEESE
3 OZ GO PACKS
0 44000 03215 9 07 MAR 19
thru
12 APR 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
10.8 OZ RITZ CHEESE CRACKER SANDWICHES 0 44000 88211 2 14 JAN 19
thru
11 FEB 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
1.35 OZ RITZ CHEESE CRACKER SANDWICHES 0 44000 00211 4 14 JAN 19
thru
11 FEB 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
10.8 OZ RITZ BACON CRACKER SANDWICHES
WITH CHEESE
0 44000 04566 1 05 FEB 19
06 FEB 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
1.35 OZ RITZ BACON CRACKER SANDWICHES
WITH CHEESE
0 44000 04567 8 05 FEB 19
thru
06 FEB 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
10.8 OZ RITZ WHOLE WHEAT CRACKER
SANDWICHES WITH WHITE CHEDDAR CHEESE
0 44000 04577 7 04 FEB 19
05 FEB 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
1.35 OZ RITZ WHOLE WHEAT CRACKER
SANDWICHES WITH CREAM CHEESE
0 44000 04580 7 06 FEB 19 07 FEB 19
08 FEB 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
1.35 OZ RITZ EVERYTHING CRACKER
SANDWICHES WITH CREAM CHEESE
0 44000 04580 7 06 FEB 19
07 FEB 19
08 FEB 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
MIXED COOKIE CRACKER VARIETY
20 PACK
0 44000 04100 7 01 FEB 19
thru
04 FEB 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW
MIXED COOKIE CRACKER VARIETY
40 PACK
0 44000 04221 0 31 JAN 19
thru
05 FEB 19
SEE IMAGE BELOW

As of July 13, 2018, 212 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 44 states.

  • Illnesses started from February 15, 2018 to June 21, 2018.
  • 34 ill people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
  • 26% of ill people are children younger than 5 years.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings link these outbreaks to contact with live poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, which come from multiple hatcheries.

  • In interviews, 100 (72%) of 138 ill people with information available reported contact with chicks or ducklings in the week before their illness started.
  • People reported obtaining chicks and ducklings from several sources, including feed supply stores, websites, hatcheries, and from relatives.

WGS analysis to identify antibiotic resistance was performed for 118 isolates from ill people in this outbreak. Twenty-two isolates from ill people contained genes expected to cause resistance or decreased susceptibility to all or some of the following antibiotics: ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, gentamicin, ceftriaxone, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, cefoxitin, ciprofloxacin, and fosfomycin. Ninety-six isolates did not identify predicted resistance. Testing of 5 outbreak isolates using standard antibiotic susceptibility testing by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory confirmed these results. Some infections may be difficult to treat with commonly recommended antibiotics, and may require another kind of antibiotic.

Here is a good reminder:

Yesterday I suggested that the FDA’s Dr. Scott Gottlieb should be a bit more transparent on who produced, processed, transported and sold the E. coli tainted romaine.  Today, the FDA notes that retailers are still selling Salmonella tainted Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal (See below)

The FDA has become aware that recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal are still being offered for sale. All Honey Smacks cereal was recalled in June 2018. Retailers cannot legally offer the cereal for sale and consumers should not purchase Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. The FDA has learned that some retailers are still selling this product. The FDA will continue to monitor this situation closely and follow up with retailers as we become aware of recalled products being offered for sale.

As of July 12, 2018, 100 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Mbandaka have been reported from 33 states.

Illnesses started on dates from March 3, 2018, to July 2, 2018. Ill people range in age from less than one year to 95, with a median age of 57. Of ill people, 68% are female. Out of 77 people with information available, 30 (39%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses that occurred after June 19, 2018, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when their illness is reported. This takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks.

State and local health officials continue to interview ill people and ask questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Fifty-five (85%) of 65 people interviewed reported eating cold cereal. In interviews, 43 people specifically reported eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. Ill people in this outbreak reported this cereal more often than any other cereals or food items.

Health officials in several states collected Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal from retail locations and ill people’s homes for testing. Laboratory testing identified the outbreak strain of Salmonella Mbandaka in a sample of unopened Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal collected from a retail location in California. Laboratory testing also identified the outbreak strain in samples of leftover Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal collected from the homes of ill people in Montana, New York, and Utah.

The Kellogg Company recalled all Honey Smacks products that were on the market within the cereal’s one-year shelf-life. However, Honey Smacks products with earlier dates could also potentially be contaminated. Do not eat Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal of any size package or with any “best if used by” date.

Dr. Gottlieb it is past time for the FDA – especially during an outbreak and recall situation – to make the supply chain transparent.

The Mexican federal consumer protection agency has issued a warning about the possible presence of salmonella in boxes of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal.

The warning from the Federal Consumer Protection Agency in Mexico (Profeco)

comes almost a week after the first reports of the contaminated cereal, manufactured and packaged in the United States, began to surface.

That US Food and Drug Administration alerted consumers last week after 73 people in 31 states were reported to have become sick after eating salmonella-infected Honey Smacks. The illnesses took place between March and May. Twenty-four people were hospitalized, but there have been no fatalities.

Profeco said the 434, 652 and 866-gram boxes of the cereal are most likely to be contaminated, but authorities in Mexico and the U.S. have advised consumers to avoid the cereal altogether.

The affected products have “best before” dates between June 14, 2018 and June 14, 2019.

On its Mexico website Kellogg’s asked consumers who bought the product not to eat it, dispose of it and contact the company for an exchange with another Kellogg’s product. It said no other product was affected by the salmonella contamination.

There had been limited distribution of the Honey Smacks cereal in Mexico and several other countries, the company said.

Perhaps Mexico will pay for it!

As of June 14, 2018, 73 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Mbandaka have been reported from 31 states. A list of the states and the number of cases in each can be found on the Case Count Map page.

Illnesses started on dates from March 3, 2018, to May 28, 2018. Ill people range in age from less than one year to 87, with a median age of 58. Sixty-five percent are female. Out of 55 people with information available, 24 (44%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic evidence indicates that Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal is a likely source of this multistate outbreak.

In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the week before they became ill. Thirty (77%) of 39 people interviewed reported eating cold cereal. In interviews, 14 people specifically reported eating Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal. Ill people in this outbreak reported this cereal more often than any other cereals or food items.

On June 14, 2018, the Kellogg Company recalled 15.3 oz. and 23 oz. packages of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal.

Recalled Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal have a “best if used by” date from June 14, 2018 through June 14, 2019. The “best if used by” date is on the box top.

The recalled 15.3 oz. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal has a UPC code of 38000 39103. The recalled 23.0 oz. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal has a UPC code of 38000 14810. The UPC code is on the bottom of the box.

I have no idea if this is a change of policy – but it should be.  I have been complaining a bit over at www.foodsafetynews.com about the FDA not being as transparent as it should when it comes to recalls.  So, when it does it right, you have to give credit where credit is due.

Thanks to the FDA for making the retail recall notification on the Caito manufactured cut melon recall available.  It helps make consumers aware of the at risk items and helps retailers get the product off shelves. Here is the complete list to date:

https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/UCM610720.pdf

And here is the latest from the FDA on the outbreak and recall:

  • FDA advises consumers not to eat recalled fresh cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and fresh-cut fruit medley products containing any of these melons produced at the Caito Foods facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Products produced at this facility have been distributed in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The products were packaged in clear, plastic clamshell containers and distributed to Costco, Jay C, Kroger, Payless, Owen’s, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens, Walmart, and Whole Foods/Amazon. Caito Foods, LLC has voluntarily recalled fruit salad mixes that contain pre-cut melons to prevent further distribution of potentially contaminated products.
  • The CDC reports that 60 people in five Midwestern states have become ill. Among 47 people with information available, thirty-one cases (66%) have been hospitalized.
  • The 60 illnesses occurred within the period of April 30, 2018 to May 28, 2018.
  • The FDA is working with CDC, along with state partners in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, and Ohio to trace back the pre-cut melons to identify the source to determine the full distribution of pre-cut melons, and to learn more about the potential route of contamination.
  • As this is an ongoing investigation, the FDA will update this page as more information becomes available, such as product information, epidemiological results, and recalls.
  • Additional distribution information has been added that identifies retail locations that received potentially contaminated product. The FDA is advising consumers to discard any recalled products purchased at the listed locations. The FDA is sharing this information with consumers as soon as possible and additional distribution information may be added as it becomes available. It is possible that some stores may be mentioned more than once because they received more than one shipment or more than one product. Consumers may wish to ask a firm directly if the recalled product was available for sale.
  • Consumers who have symptoms of Salmonella infection should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Most infections usually lasts 4 to 7 days and most people recover without treatment, however some people develop diarrhea so severe that they need to be hospitalized.

According to the CDC, a total of 265 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Typhimurium were reported from 8 states. WGS performed on bacteria isolated from ill people showed that they were closely related genetically.  Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 8, 2018, to March 20, 2018. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 year to 89 years, with a median age of 57. Sixty-seven percent of people were female. Ninety-four hospitalizations were reported, including one person from Iowa who died. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicated that chicken salad produced by Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. and sold at Fareway grocery stores was the likely source of this multistate outbreak.

Yet, this in part is Triple T’s response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of 1 of the 265:

DEFENDANT TRIPLE T SPECIALTY MEATS, INC.’S ANSWER TO SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT, JURY DEMAND AND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES

COMES NOW the Defendant, Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. (hereinafter “Triple T”), by and through their attorneys, Betty, Neuman & McMahon, P.L.C., and for its Answer to Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint, states as follows:

Admits that Triple T is a citizen of the State of Iowa. Triple T admits that it produced chicken salad for Fareway.

Admit that Triple T produced Fareway chicken salad at the times relevant to this petition.

Admits that Salmonella is unsafe but denies that the food contained Salmonella.

Fareway shoots back at Triple T with its own lawsuit:

DEFENDANT FAREWAY STORES, INC.’S ANSWER, AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES, JURY DEMAND AND CROSS-CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANT TRIPLE T SPECIALTY MEATS, INC.

COME NOW Defendant Fareway Stores, Inc. (“Fareway”), by and through its attorneys, for its Answer to Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint (“Complaint”) and for its Affirmative Defenses, states as follows:

Upon information and belief, Fareway admits that state and federal regulators have identified multiple confirmed or probable cases of Salmonella Typhimurium in multiple states related to adulterated chicken salad manufactured by Triple T and unknowingly sold by Fareway.

Fareway admits that on February 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (“FSIS”) issued a statement, which speaks for itself.

Fareway admits the chicken salad Fareway sold at times relevant to Plaintiffs’ Complaint was produced by Triple T in Ackley, Iowa.

Fareway admits that at times relevant to Plaintiffs’ Complaint, Triple T distributed its chicken salad to Fareway in five-pound bags, packed two to a sealed cardboard box. Fareway further admits it repackaged and sold Triple T chicken salad to consumers in various sized plastic deli containers.

Upon information and belief, Fareway admits it unknowingly sold to consumers adulterated chicken salad that was manufactured by Triple T.

Fareway admits that Triple T manufactured a food product, including chicken salad, that was intended for sale to the public.

Fareway admits that Triple T manufactured and distributed ready-to-eat chicken salad that was contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium.

Fareway admits that if Plaintiff suffered damages from eating chicken salad adulterated with Salmonella Typhimurium, then Triple T is strictly liable for Plaintiffs’ Damages.

Fareway admits that Triple T owed a duty to consumers and Fareway to use reasonable care when making representations about the certifications its ready-to-eat chicken salad had undergone prior to its distribution and sale of product, and that Triple T breached this duty.

Fareway admits that Triple T had a duty to comply with all statutes, laws, regulations or safety codes pertaining to the manufacture, distribution, storage and sale of its food products, failed to do so, and were therefore negligent.

Fareway admits Triple T breached the duties it owed to consumers of its ready-to-eat chicken salad and Fareway by committing the negligent acts and omissions.

Fareway admits Triple T had a duty to comply with statutory and regulatory provisions that pertained or applied to the manufacture, distribution, storage, labeling and sale of its food products, and that Triple T breached these duties.

Fareway admits Triple T had a duty to use reasonable care in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of its food products to prevent adulteration with Salmonella, and that Triple T breached this duty.

Fareway admits that if Plaintiffs consumed Triple T ready-to-eat chicken salad adulterated with Salmonella Typhimurium, and suffered injuries as a result, then Plaintiffs’ injuries, if any, proximately and directly resulted from the negligence of Triple T and Triple T’s violations of statutes, laws, regulations and safety codes pertaining to the manufacture, distribution, storage, and sale of food.

CROSS-CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANT TRIPLE T SPECIALTY MEATS, INC.

Defendant Fareway Stores, Inc. (“Fareway”), by and through its attorneys, and for its Cross-Claims against Defendant Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. (“Triple T”), Fareway, by its undersigned attorneys, and pleading in the alternative and without prejudice to its answer to Plaintiffs’ Complaint, states as follows:

Triple T produced ready to-eat chicken salad, which it sold to Fareway for sale for human consumption. Fareway then sold the ready-to-eat chicken salad produced by Triple T to Fareway’s customers, including, as alleged in their Complaint, Plaintiffs.

On February 9, 2018, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (“IDIA”) contacted Fareway about a potential link between ready-to-eat chicken salad produced by Triple T and sold by Fareway and a multi-state outbreak of illnesses from Salmonella Typhimurium. That same day, Fareway voluntarily stopped selling the ready-to-eat chicken salad in all its stores.

On February 13, 2018, the IDIA and the Iowa Department of Public Health (“IDPH”) issued a consumer advisory warning that the Triple T chicken salad sold at Fareway stores may be adulterated with Salmonella Typhimurium.

An epidemiological investigation and product testing conducted by IDIA and IDPH, along with the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (“FSIS”), concluded, “Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that chicken salad produced by Triple T and sold at Fareway grocery stores is the likely source of this multistate outbreak.”

Specifically, FSIS stated, “The Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, and Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory determined that there is a link between the chicken salad from Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. and this outbreak.”

On February 21, 2018, following this extensive investigation, Triple T recalled all ready-to-eat chicken salad that it produced between January 2, 2018, and February 7, 2018.

The ready-to-eat chicken salad was produced by Triple T, sold to Fareway, and shipped to Fareway stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Triple T’s website represents that its meat processing facility in Ackley is “state- of-the-art” and “federally inspected.” Triple T’s website also states: “Our professional staff take pride in their work and providing you with the safest high-quality products available.” Triple T’s website goes on to state: “We go to great lengths to ensure that our customers receive nothing but the highest quality products. All products must pass our quality assurance inspection, meeting our customer’s specifications.”

Triple T also owed a duty to Fareway to use reasonable care to manufacture and distribute ready-to-eat chicken salad that was wholesome, free from adulteration and safe for human consumption.

Triple T breached these duties by manufacturing ready-to-eat chicken salad that was adulterated with Salmonella Typhimurium and was therefore defective as a matter of law under the Poultry Products Inspection Act, 21 U.S.C. § 458 and 9 CFR § 381 et seq. and was not safe for human consumption.

Triple T manufactured and distributed ready-to-eat chicken salad that was defective as a matter of law and not reasonably safe for human consumption because it was adulterated with Salmonella Typhimurium.

The chicken salad’s defective condition was present at the time Triple T sold the product to Fareway and Fareway then sold it to consumers.

Because Triple T sold a food product that was defective, due to contamination with Salmonella Typhimurium bacteria, Triple T is strictly liable to Fareway for the harm directly and proximately caused by the sale of the defective ready-to-eat chicken salad.

Triple T expressly warranted on its public website that Triple T provides customers such as Fareway with the “safest high-quality products available.” Triple T also represented on its website that, “We go to great lengths to ensure that our customers receive nothing but the highest quality products. All products must pass our quality assurance inspection, meeting our customer’s specifications.”

Fareway relied on these express warranties when purchasing chicken salad from Triple T.

By producing and selling ready-to-eat chicken salad that was adulterated with Salmonella Typhimurium at the time Triple T sold the chicken salad to Fareway, Triple T violated applicable laws and regulations, including the Poultry Products Inspection Act, 21 U.S.C. § 458 and 9 CFR § 381 et seq.

By producing and selling ready-to-eat chicken salad that was adulterated with Salmonella Typhimurium and violating applicable laws and regulations, Triple T failed to provide Fareway with food products that were of the safest quality; thereby breaching its express warranty.

By producing and selling ready-to-eat chicken salad that was adulterated with Salmonella Typhimurium and violating applicable laws and regulations, Triple T did not provide Fareway with the highest-quality products available; thereby breaching its express warranty.

This lawsuit will be entertaining.

Rose Acre Farms – FDA 483 Investigation Report

Observation 1:
When your monitoring indicated unacceptable rodent activity within a poultry house, appropriate methods were not used to achieve satisfactory rodent control.

Specifically, a review of your pest control records from September 2017 to present indicate an ongoing rodent infestation. The corrective actions taken by your firm have not been effective at reducing the rodent levels within your poultry houses to an acceptable level that is below the threshold established in your SE Prevention Plan.

Observation 2:
There were insanitary conditions and poor employee practices observed in the egg processing facility that create an environment that allows for the harborage, proliferation and spread of filth and pathogens throughout the facility that could cause the contamination of egg processing equipment and eggs.

On 03/28118, during a review of the firm’s cleaning procedures and a walkthrough of the cleaning procedures we observed that the firm did not have in their procedures or use a sanitizing step following the wash step.

Throughout the inspection we observed condensation dripping from the ceiling, pipes, and down walls, onto production equipment (i.e. crack detector, egg grader) and pooling on floors in foot traffic and forklift pathways.

On 03/28/18, we observed maintenance and sanitation employees placing buffers (food contact) and metal covers to the egg packer with buffers (non-food contact) onto floor, pa11ets, and equipment that was visibly dirty with accumulated grime and food debris, before placing the equipment into service. Additionally, throughout the inspection several production and maintenance employees were observed touching non-food contact surfaces (i.e. face, hair, intergluteal cleft, production equipment with accumulated grime and food debris, floor, boxes, trash cans, inedible transport cans) and then touch shell eggs and food contact surfaces (i.e. buffers, rollers, etc.) without changing gloves or washing hands. We also observed maintenance employees dragging non-food contact equipment (i.e. black electrical conduit with accumulated grime and dried food debris) on top of food contact surfaces (i.e. conveyors and rollers).

Throughout the inspection we observed equipment (i.e. conveyor belts, chains, rail guards, buffers, egg transport arms, egg clappers, production computers and exterior of production equipment surfaces) with accumulated food debris (i.e. dried egg and shells) and grime, post sanitation. The same areas of accumulated food debris were observed uncleaned on multiple days during the inspection pre-and post-sanitation.

To put the dispute in context:  According to the CDC, a total of 265 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Typhimurium were reported from 8 states (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Mississippi). WGS performed on bacteria isolated from ill people showed that they were closely related genetically. This means that people in this outbreak were more likely to share a common source of infection. Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 8, 2018, to March 20, 2018. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 year to 89 years, with a median age of 57. Sixty-seven percent of people were female. Ninety-four hospitalizations were reported, including one person from Iowa who died.

Despite the overwhelming evidence from public health officials at the CDC and several states and the FDA and FSIS, this statement dribbled out this morning from the PR folks (assuming not the lawyers) from triple T Specialty Meats:

Triple T Specialty Meats Statement:  On behalf of the Heikens family and everyone at Triple T Specialty Meats, our deepest sympathy goes out to the individuals and families affected by the recent Fareway Chicken Salad incident. During our 22 years in business at Triple T Specialty Meats, consumer health and food safety has always been our number one priority; and will always be our number one priority!

After a thorough investigation and extensive testing by state of Iowa, USDA and FDA inspection teams, no salmonella was found at the Triple T Specialty Meats facility in Ackley. Further, no salmonella was found in any products tested at the Triple T Specialty Meats facility. Finally, all chicken salad produced by Triple T Specialty Meats; that remained in the original sealed packaging, tested negative for salmonella.

“We take this very seriously and will continue to work with all government agencies to assist in determining the source of the salmonella,” said Jolene Heikens, Co-Owner and CEO of Triple T Specialty Meats. “In the meantime, Triple T Specialty Meats is running business as usual and we appreciate our customer’s and the communities continued support. We will continue to provide only the highest quality product and services meeting all USDA and FDA regulations.”

All agency inspector’s reports showing “No Salmonella Found” have been provided to Triple T Specialty Meats and will be made available to customers or vendors upon request.

Triple T Specialty Meats is a family owned and operated specialty meat and food processor established in 1996 and operates in Ackley, Iowa by Greg and Jolene Heikens. The Heikens accredit much of their success to surrounding themselves with exceptional employees, but when you meet the Heikens and become acquainted with their brainstorming, get-after-it, fun-loving personalities, you will understand what makes Triple T Specialty Meats successful, but more importantly special.

I what could only be entitled “The Smack Down in Iowa,” Fareway set the record straight and stopped doing business with Triple T Specialty Meats.  The statement read:

Fareway Stores, Inc. Statement: Fareway Stores, Inc. wants to share information with our customers about the investigation of the outbreak of Salmonella illnesses linked to chicken salad made by Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. State and federal investigators have concluded that Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. was the source of the Salmonella Typhimurium in the chicken salad. The Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory found Salmonella Typhimurium in Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. chicken salad collected from two different Fareway stores located 100 miles apart. One of those positive samples came from a sealed package of Triple T chicken salad that had never been opened by Fareway. 

As USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service reported, “the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, and Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory determined that there is a link between the chicken salad from Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. and this outbreak.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also confirmed that chicken salad produced by Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. was the likely source of this multi-state illness outbreak.

In the course of these investigations, there have been no findings of any food safety issues in Fareway stores. Fareway has stopped doing business with Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc.

Body Slam!

Honestly, Triple T Specialty Meats is getting very bad PR advice, very bad business advice, but hopefully, not bad legal advice – We shall see.