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Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition continued 2001

Chapter 4

Last Update: August 07, 2003

Canned Foods

Warning Letter Issued to Cannery

On August 29, 2001, the FDA's Cincinnati District Office issued a Warning Letter to Hirzel Canning Company, Northwood, Ohio. An FDA inspection of the firm on June 13, 2001, disclosed misbranding their Dei Fratelli brand canned tomato products. The firm's products were false and misleading because of the use of the terms "Fresh-Packed" and Fresh & Ready on the labels of products that were thermally processed and contained preservatives. The product labels also made authorized nutrient content claims, such as, "great source of Vitamins A and C, and the nutrient Lycopene. The labels also bore the nutrient content claim, "Healthy." However, the firm's products did not meet the requirements for these claims.

Nationwide Recall of Soups Possibly Contaminated with Clostridium Botulinum
FDA Issues Nationwide Warning Regarding Potential Botulism in Canned Soups

On November 24, 2000, the FDA issued a Nationwide warning to consumers not to purchase or consume various canned soups imported from Canada because they had the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause life-threatening illness or death. Consumers were warned not to use the products even if they did not look or smell spoiled. A Canadian firm, Les Produits Freddy Inc. (St-Hyacinthe, Quebec), began a voluntary recall of the products. FDA took this action as a result of the Canadian government's evaluation.

Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention. All lots on the market were under recall. However, the volume of the product's distribution was not known at the time. The soups were distributed nationwide to retail stores. They were distributed to the following stores but may have been distributed elsewhere as well.

Clostridium botulinum

Clostridium botulinum is an anaerobic, gram-positive, spore forming rod that produces a potent neurotoxin. The spores are heat resistant and can survive in foods that are incorrectly or minimally processed. Foodborne botulism (as distinct from wound botulism and infant botulism) is a severe type of food poisoning caused by the ingestion of foods containing the potent neurotoxin formed during growth of the organism. The toxin is heat labile and can be destroyed if heated at 80 o C for ten minutes or more. The incidence of the disease is low, but the disease is of concern because of its high mortality rate if not treated immediately and properly. 1/

1/ Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Last Updated 2000-MAR-08

The Stop & Shop brand soups were sold at Stop & Shop Stores throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island and at Edwards Stores in New Jersey and New York.

The Tasty Classics brand soups were sold at Hy-Vee Food and Drug Stores in Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri; in Fareway Stores in Iowa and Illinois; and in Canned Foods Grocery Outlets stores in California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii.

The Wegmans brand soups were sold at Wegmans Stores in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The Baron brand soups were sold nationwide at various grocery stores. The soups, manufactured by Les Produits Freddy, Inc., are sold in 10 3/4 fl. ounce cans. All codes are affected by this recall. They can be identified by the following brand names (may not be inclusive):

Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup Wegmans brand Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup Stop & Shop brand Condensed Soup Cream of Mushroom Tasty Classics brand Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup Baron Brand Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Chicken Soup Wegmans brand
Cream of Chicken Condensed SoupStop & Shop brand Condensed Soup Cream of ChickenTasty Classics brand Cream of Chicken Condensed SoupBaron Brand Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

Cream of Celery Soup Wegmans brand Cream of Celery Condensed SoupStop & Shop brand Condensed Soup Cream of CeleryTasty Classics Cream of Celery Condensed Soup

Caterers

Warning Letters Issued to Airline Caterers

  • On March 16, 2001, the FDA's New York District Office sent a Warning Letter to Blue Ridge Farms, Inc., located in Brooklyn, New York. An ITS inspection on February 21, and 22, 2001, of this airline catering support facility revealed critical sanitation deficiencies and a rating score warranting a "provisional" classification. The deficiencies included, but were not limited to: prepared foods were held uncovered during the employee lunch break; sinks used for washing equipment and utensils were also used for employee hand washing; there was no hot water provided at some hand washing sinks; there were no three-compartment sinks for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing equipment and utensils; there were no hand washing sinks and/or inaccessible hand washing sinks in some food preparation areas; there were no air gaps between equipment/sink drainpipes and floor drains in some areas; and there were uncovered garbage cans in some food preparation areas after completion of operations.
  • On February 22, 2001, the FDA's New York District Office sent a Warning Letter to C.A. Griffith & Co. located in Huntington, New York. An inspection on January 24, 2001, of this airline catering facility revealed critical sanitation deficiencies and a rating score warranting a "provisional" classification. The deficiencies included, but were not limited to: a sink used for equipment and utensil washing was also used for employee hand washing; there was no hot water provided at an employee hand washing sink; there was no three-compartment sink for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing equipment and utensils; there was no chemical test kit to determine the concentration of the chlorine sanitizing solution; meat stored in an uncovered container under dusty fans; and meat and poultry left uncovered during an employee lunch break.
  • The FDA's New York District Office sent a Warning Letter on February 27, 2001, to United Skyport Corp. located in White Plains, New York. An ITS inspection on February 9, 2001, of this airline catering facility revealed critical sanitation deficiencies and a rating score warranting a "provisional" classification. The deficiencies included, but were not limited to: a sink used for equipment washing was also used for employee hand washing; there was no air-gap between the ice machine drainpipe and the drain; there was no backflow prevention device in the main water line; and there was no hand washing sink in the ice dispensing and coffee preparation areas.

Ceramicware

Lead in Irish Dinnerware
FDA Laboratory Analysis Finds Lead in Ceramicware

The FDA's Baltimore District Office Norfolk Import Operations (NIT) sampled fine china made by Beleek Pottery, Ltd., Ireland, on August 17, 2001. The cargo had been imported for promotion on a QVC cable TV program. A cup of the 'Neptune' pattern tested possible positive for lead at the QVC warehouse, using the Quick Color Test (QCT). A sample collected and sent to SRL also tested positive for lead. NIT detained all dinnerware china from Beleek Pottery on this entry on September 7, 2001. The product was valued at approximately $255,000.

Colors

Drinks Containing Unapproved Color Detained

The FDA's Florida District Office collected a sample of non-carbonated soft drinks, shipped by C.I. Procepack LTDA, Santa Fé de Bogota, Colombia. The SRL found the sample to contain Ponceau 4R and Carmoisine (unapproved color additives in foods), undeclared FD&C Yellow #5 & #6, Blue #1 as well as other labeling deficiencies. The drinks imported by Postobon Corp., Miami, Florida, consisted of 143 cartons (2,124 bottles) valued at $5,145. The entry was detained and eventually refused.

Destruction of Fruit Drinks From Mexico

On June 19, 2001, the FDA's San Juan District Office witnessed the destruction of 288 cases of 24/ 11.3 ounce bottles of Frutsi Orange Drink manufactured by Jugos Del Valle, SA de C.V., Mexico and consigned to the FDI Corporation, Salinas, Puerto Rico. The product was subject to automatic detention due to undeclared colors, and the firm decided to voluntarily destroy it. In addition, FDA collected a sample of the firm's Grape Drink, which was analyzed by SRL, and it also contained undeclared colors. The firm chose to voluntarilydestroy 191 cases of 24/11.3 ounce bottles of the Grape Drink. The total value of the items destroyed was $738.

Condiments

Warning Letter Issued to Jelly/Salsa Manufacturer
Numerous Violations Found At Jelly/Salsa Manufacturer

On May 14, 2001, the FDA's Kansas City District Office issued a Warning Letter to the president of Ozark Country Foods, Inc., Walnut Shade, Missouri. An inspection of the firm on March 8 - 12, 2001, disclosed labeling violations and violations for misbranding violations, and for deviations from 21 C.F.R. 114 and 108 (Acidified Foods). Ozark Country Foods manufactures an assortment of preserves, jellies, and a salsa product.

The firm's sassafras jelly did not declare artificial flavor; sassafras jelly and corn cob jelly did not specify certified food colors in the products; and cherry jam (a standardized food) contained red food coloring which is not allowed. The firm's salsa is adulterated under Section 402(a)(4) of the Act because the firm did not have sufficient control to ensure that pH was adequate. In addition, the firm did not mark each container with an identifying code, there was no supervision by a person who had attended a process control school; and the firm had not established any recall procedures.

Balsamic Vinegar Recalled
Product Found to Contain Undeclared Sulfites

The FDA's New York District Office reported that as part of an ongoing Recall Partnership Agreement, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) notified the FDA's New York District Office of a recall initiated by Tops Markets, Buffalo, New York. The recall involved Epifine Balsamic Vinegar. The product was sampled by NYSDAM and found to contain 70 ppm sulfites that were not declared on the label. The firm initiated a recall on May 11, 2001.

The FDA's New York District Office learned that the product had been imported through Canada (by Epifine NA, Point Claire, Quebec) and was manufactured by Epifine BV, the Netherlands. After further investigation, Epifine NA learned that the manufacturer failed to declare the presence of "Antioxidant E224", a sulfiting agent. This firm reported a one-time shipment to the U.S. sold exclusively to Tops Markets. Tops Markets sold the product in 20 stores throughout New York and Ohio. All product was retrieved and destroyed.

Paprika With Rodent Hairs Is Destroyed
FDA Lab Analysis Finds Product Rodent Defiled

On March 19, 2001, the FDA's Chicago District Office import inspector witnessed the destruction of 566 cases of imported Paprika at Bende, Inc., an importer located in Vernon Hills, Illinois. The product was valued at over $10,000 and was refused entry due to contamination with rodent hairs. The product had been offered for entry in August 2000, and was sampled by the district as a routine surveillance sample. The product was analyzed by the FDA's Denver Laboratory and found to be rodent-defiled. The product originated in Hungary.