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Recall -- Firm Press Release
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Cal Fresco, LLC Recalls Jalapeño and Serrano Chili Peppers Due to Possible Health Risk
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 21, 2011 - Cal Fresco, LLC (“Cal Fresco”) is voluntarily working with the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) and California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) to coordinate a recall of fresh Jalapeño and Serrano chili peppers for potential contamination with Salmonella. The FDA has advised that a random sample of Cal Fresco Jalapeño and Serrano peppers has tested positive for Salmonella.
Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
The Jalapeño Peppers
The Jalapeño recall is limited to one (1) lot (Lot #205610) containing approximately 18,500 pounds of peppers. The source of the contamination is unknown. The lot was distributed to retail stores within California, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Canada between December 3 and December 5, 2011. The product was shipped in cases under both the Cal Fresco (10 and 25 pound cases) and Grower Alliance (40 pound case) labels. The product is typically sold at the retail level in bulk by weight and has no retail packaging associated with it. All retail suppliers that received this affected lot have been notified and were directed to immediately remove and destroy any remaining product in their inventories.
This recall was the result of a random sampling event on December 12, 2011 by the USDA which revealed the presence of Salmonella on some of the product. Cal Fresco’s recall and traceability program enabled the company to quickly identify the supplier of the affected product, which originated in Mexico. Cal Fresco has ceased the distribution of all produce from this supplier while the FDA, the California Department of Public Health, and the company continue their investigation into the source of the contamination.
Consumers who purchased the above described Jalapeño peppers between the dates of December 3 and December 21, 2011 should contact the store from where they purchased the product and inquire as to whether the affected product was sold by that store location. If so, the customer should discard or return any unused product to that store for a refund.
The Serrano Peppers
Based upon information provided to Cal Fresco by the FDA and CDPH, the Serrano peppers were delivered to a retail distribution center Spokane, Washington on December 8, 2011. The source of the contamination is unknown. This recall was the result of a random USDA sampling of bulk Serrano peppers on December 12 at a Spokane, WA distribution center which revealed the presence of Salmonella in some, but not all, of the sampling. Cal Fresco has a sampling, traceability and recall program in place to detect and prevent the distribution of contaminated product. However, because the USDA Sample and Isolated Pathogen Information Report failed to disclose individual lot numbers, and because the results of that report were not provided to Cal Fresco until December 19, 2011, (five days after the sampling occurred), Cal Fresco must rely on information provided by the FDA and CDPH to trace the contaminated peppers to their source. Based upon that information, Cal Fresco has identified the affected peppers as being part of Lot #205467, originating in Mexico. Cal Fresco has ceased the distribution of all produce from this supplier while the FDA, the California Department of Public Health, and the company continue their investigation into the source of the contamination.
This product is typically sold at the retail level in bulk by weight and has no retail packaging associated with it. All retail suppliers that received this affected product are located in Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver, Canada and Southern California, Alaska, Washington and Dallas, Texas. All retail suppliers who received this product have been notified and were directed to immediately remove and destroy any remaining product in their inventories.
Consumers who purchased the above described Serrano peppers between the dates of December 8 and December 21, 2011 should contact the store from where they purchased the product and inquire as to whether the affected product was sold by that store location. If so, the customer should discard or return any unused product to that store for a refund.
No illnesses have been reported to date. Other than the Jalapeño and Serrano peppers described above, no other Cal Fresco product has been affected by this recall.
Cal Fresco has earned an outstanding safety reputation throughout its operations and has taken immediate precautionary measures to protect public health by issuing this voluntary recall and removing product from the market. Cal Fresco takes its food safety responsibilities very seriously and is working diligently to prevent any further occurrence.
Consumer questions may be directed to Cal Fresco at 714-690-7700 between 5 AM and 1 PM PST.
Recalled Product Photos Are Also Available on FDA's Flickr Photostream.