Wednesday, July 27, 2011
EXPANDING FOOD RECALLS
If you follow food recalls, you will realize that they often start small and get bigger. What I mean is that originally we are told that a few specific products and lots of a food item may be contaminated. Then, some days or even weeks later, we are told that there are actually a few more, and then even more. It happens over and over again.
And it happened this past week. The recalls involved ready-to-eat meat products that were contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. One recalling food producer was Flying Food Group, of Georgia, which produced these products for Starbucks and the other was the well-known Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation of Texas. Both had to expand their recalls six days after they were initially made, to include additional items produced at the same plant, which had not been named in the original recall.
What happens if bacteria are found, is that other foods produced at the same plant or using the same suspect ingredients, or, the same equipment, are tested as well. And that is when additional contaminated products often start turning up and more have to be recalled.
So what does this have to do with the health-conscious consumer? Actually, quite a lot. Say, for instance, that you are a pregnant woman who needs to involve being exposed to Listeria bacteria at any cost. In that case, as soon as a recall is announced for one of a company's products, avoid any similar ones for at least a week or two, in case they turn out to be risky as well - just in case. If you read my alerts, you'll see that I often advise this. Such precautions may sound a bit extreme. But they really aren't. Not if the life of your unborn child could be involved.
To your good health,
UPDATE: Flying Foods Group issued a third expansion of th recall on July 28. Here's a summary of how it has gone so far: July 19th - 2 RTE foods recalled (made for Starbucks only). July 26 - recall expanded to cover 10 items. July 28 - recall expanded to cover 40 items (with now 3 distributors). Ugh!