FDA recalls processed foods due to salmonella scare
Unlike some of the recent high profile foodborne illness outbreaks since 2006, the FDA is issuing a voluntary recall of some processed foods due to a salmonella scare. The recall involves a flavor preservative called hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or HVP. This is first flavor related recall of its kind.
The good news is that there have been no reported illnesses or deaths. The contamination was found using a new tracking system meant to improve the tracing of foodborne illnesses. With a list of more than 50 recalled foods on the FDA website, experts are stating that this list is not all inclusive at this time. Experts urge that this recall will continue over the next several weeks as information becomes available. Jeffrey Farrar, an associate commissioner for food protection at the FDA, told Associated Press that at the current time, the risk to consumers is believed to be low.
The flavoring that was recalled, HVP, is used in soups, sauces, hot dogs, snack foods, dressings, and dips writes Reuters. HVP is a flavor enhancing agent that is a relative to MSG. The manufacturer of the flavoring is a privately owned incorporation out of Las Vegas, Nevada called Basic Food Flavors. Salmonella Tennessee is the specific bacterium that was found in the HVP manufactured foods.
The recall includes over 50 foods from brand names such as Johnny’s Fine Foods, T. Marzetti, Oak Lake Farms, Great Value, Castella, Hawaiian, Follow Your Heart, and Trader Joe’s. Food items include dips, tofu wraps, pasta, onion rings, and soup bases. Many food items have what is called a kill step. ABC News explain that a kill step is when any potential contamination, such as salmonella, is cooked out of the food during preparation. Those foods that have this kill step are not being recalled. Foods subject to recall date back to September 17, 2009. For the full list of recalled items, see the FDA website on food safety.
Salmonella can cause severe illness in both the very young and the elderly. Signs and symptoms of salmonella poisoning include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. It can cause a severe infection and organ failure, leading to death in some cases. If you think you have salmonella poisoning contact your physician immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
The FDA, the CDC, and the US Agriculture Department are working closely with the Nevada state health department on the issues of the outbreak. Waiting for a Senate vote, a new law is pending in regards to food safety regulation that was spurred on the outbreaks of the last four years. The law is called the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. There are still some concerns regarding the law, but the point is that food safety needs a change to be able to prevent contamination from occurring in the first place.