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FDA Issues Warning on French-made Tapenade

The Food and Drug Administration Saturday warned U.S. consumers not to eat tapenade or spreadable dried tomato paste manufactured by the French food company La Ruche and linked to eight severe cases of botulism in France.

Eight adults are suffering from respiratory failure as a result of eating foods containing the neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum.


In its warning, the FDA said it has no indication that any of the La Ruche products thought to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum has been imported into the U.S. or that this outbreak has affected anyone in the U.S., but the agency said it has increased its monitoring of shipments from the Cavaillon area of France and issued a bulletin to its Field Offices to be vigilant.

The UK Food Safety Agency, and health authorities throughout Europe, issued a similar warning last week after French health authorities reported an outbreak of botulism in France linked to La Ruche products sold under the brand names “Les délices de Marie-Claire,” “Terre de Mistral” and “Les Secrets d’Anaïs.”

French authorities have ordered production halted at the company’s facility in France and have directed that all products sold under those brand names be recalled. The recalled products were sold in stores and markets in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France, and over the internet through the websites www.chocolatprovence.com and www.epicerie-terroirprovence.com.

The La Ruche products are considered a severe threat to public health and should not be eaten, the FDA advised, adding that anyone who purchased the products, either while traveling in France or online, should throw them away.

French authorities have said the artisan food makers who sold the toxin-tainted tapenade and spreads had never registered as required with the Vaucluse Prefecture, did not carry out appropriate control procedures, did not seek technical assistance, and did not have the proper equipment in place to sterilize their product effectively.

The following products were recalled:

– Terre De Mistral

– Tapenade Noire

– Tartinade De Tomate Sechees

– Tapenade Verte

– Pesto

– Anchoiade

– Les délices de Marie-Claire

– Tapenade Noire 180g

– Tapenade Noire Aux Pignons

– Tapenade Noire Au Pistou

– Tapenade Noire Aux Tomates Sechees

– Tapenade Verte

– Tapenade Verte Aux Amandes

– Tapenade Verte Au Thon

– Anchoiade A La Provencale

– Anchoiade De Marius

– Tomates Sechees A L’huile D’olive

– Thoionade

– Delice De Tomates Sechees Au Piment D’espellette

– Tartinade De Tomates Sechees

– Caviar D’aubergines

– Tartinade D’aubergines Sechees Au Piment Doux

– Pesto Sauce Au Pistou

– Poivronnade

– Poichichade

– Artichonade

– Tapenade verte Aux Olives Vertes Et Aux Amandes

– Le secret d’Anaïs

– Tapenade Noire

– Tartinade De Tomate Sechees

– Tapenade Verte

– Pesto

– Anchoiade

Botulism can result in death due to respiratory failure.The classic symptoms of botulism include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. Infants with botulism appear lethargic, feed poorly, are constipated, and have a weak cry and poor muscle tone. These are all symptoms of the muscle paralysis caused by the bacterial toxin. If untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis of the respiratory muscles, arms, legs, and trunk. In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days.

For more information:

FDA What You Need to Know About Foodborne Illness-Causing Organisms in the U.S.

FoodSafety. Gov – Botulism

CDC – Botulism

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