Monday, April 24, 2017


We tend to think of potatoes as a relatively risk-free food. Offhand, how many cases of food poisoning can you think of in which potatoes have been involved? But the last few days may make us think twice about this popular vegetable.

McCain Foods USA, Inc. has had to recall their frozen hash brown potato products because of bits of golf balls (can you believe it?) hiding in them. I have been trying to figure out how on earth this could have happened. But I can see where it is possible. If a potato field happens to be near a golf course, a large mechanical harvester of potatoes could pick up a ball or two.

Anyway, throw out any 2 lb. bags of hash browns in your freezer if they are Roundy’s or Teeter brands, and if you live in Illinois and Wisconsin (Roundy’s brand) or in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and Maryland (Harris Teeter brand).

By the way, McCain Foods also supplies restaurants with vegetables and distributes to some 160 countries around the world. Who knows where golf-ball hash browns will pop up? You may want to be careful if you are biting into some hash browns at your favorite restaurant.

And you had better pass on the potato chips too if Jalapeño Flavored Frito-Lay‘s Kettle Cooked chips or Jalapeño Flavored Miss Vickie’s Kettle Cooked potato chips are your favorite. In this case there could be Salmonella bacteria in the Jalapeño seasoning that was used. Yes, as I discuss in The Safe Food Handbook (the book, not this blog) Salmonella bacteria are remarkably hardy. They can live in very dry conditions – as in spices – for months.

Remember, Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and anyone who has a weakened immune system, such as people receiving cancer treatment.


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