And now it's smoked duck - delicious smoked, ready-to-eat, imported duck. Two U.S. importers have issued recalls because the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS) - which is charged with keeping such meat products safe - found Salmonella bacteria in a test sample. They both got the duck product from Canada.
If you've read The Safe Food Handbook: How to Make Smart Choices about Risky Food, you'll know that these products comply with two of the four high-risk criteria - "remote" (imported, travelling many miles) and "ready" (ready-to-eat, RTE, foods are more risky).
The recalling U.S. companies are: Sid Wainer & Son, Inc., of New Bedford, Mass. and Palmex, Inc., of Champlain, N.Y. They got it from a Canadian company named Charcuterie Parisienne (a private company, based in Montreal).
The product being recalled is "Magret de Canard Fume Seche - Dried Smoked Duck Breast, Produit du Canada/Product of Canada." I don't know yet whether any of this product was distributed in Canada itself by the original company, or, by one of the importers (oddly enough, sometimes food does a U-turn and goes right back across the border to where it came from - I discussed this in an earlier post).
The U.S. imports a lot of food from Canada (and visa versa). Comparatively speaking, it is fairly safe. But recalls do happen. This is certainly not the first instance. There have been several for deli meat or poultry over the years.
These duck products were sold for institutional use, meaning that they went to places such as restaurants, hotels, retailers and so on. The first company distributed them in in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. The second one sent them for on-distribution to sites in California and to the Dominican Republic (notice again, how the food we eat travels around these days). Who knows where it ended up.
We are not talking about huge quantities here (some 350 lbs so far, but there may be more). People just don't eat that much duck, particularly in this economy, since it is usually pretty expensive. But you may want to think twice before ordering an "away from home" smoked duck salad, or something similar, in the next few weeks, no matter how good it sounds.
To your good health,