Sampco, Inc., in Chicago, Illinois is recalling approximately 61,000 pounds of cooked canned and frozen beef products that may contain the animal drug Ivermectin, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced yesterday. Ivermectin is an antiparasitic used to de-worm live animals.
In May, FSIS discovered residues of Ivermectin above the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) tolerance level for beef muscle in products from Brazil which sparked an 87,000 pound Class II recall, with low health risk, for related beef products, also from Sampco. The agency believes the recently-recalled product may have entered the country through a separate route of entry.
The previous recall–and a series of other positive tests in March–caused around two dozen Brazilian beef processing facilities to become delisted. The Brazilian government voluntarily banned exporting processed beef to the U.S. in late May until possible testing discrepancies could be worked out.
“Based on Brazil’s voluntary suspension of export for cooked beef products, FSIS has broadened its ongoing investigation,” said the agency in a statement yesterday. “FSIS may take further regulatory action as it continues its investigation.”
Last week, Food & Water Watch, a Washington, DC-based non-profit, sent a letter to USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong urging the agency to look into whether some of Invermectin-contaminated products were in the marketplace.
Tony Corbo, a lobbyist for Food & Water Watch, says yesterday’s recall raises more questions.
“This recall involves product from Brazilian Establishment S.I.F. 337–the same establishment involved in the May 14 recall,” said Corbo. “What about the products from the other 23 Brazilian establishments delisted on May 27? Are there beef products from those plants still in commerce here in the U.S. even though they were delisted?”
Food & Water Watch also said it believes that the drug residues could pose a risk to to public health, pointing to a USDA Inspector General report on drug residues in meat that lists neurotoxicity as a potential health effect from Ivermectin exposure.
“The inaction by FSIS in this matter is totally astounding,” wrote Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “[W]e dispute the contention that excessive Ivermectin residues are not a major public health risk.”
The agency said in a statement yesterday it has received no reports of illness of adverse reactions. “Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician,” said FSIS. “Consumers who have purchased any of these products should return them to their point of purchase.”
The following products are subject to recall:
-12 oz. cans of “Deltina CORNED BEEF WITH JUICES” with the production code “100120” inkjetted on the top of the can. These products were sent to a distribution center in Florida for retail sales.
-12 oz. cans of “Hormel CORNED BEEF WITH NATURAL JUICES” with the production code “100120” inkjetted on the top of the can. These products were sent to distribution centers in Guam for retail sales.
-35 lb. boxes of frozen “SEASONED COOKED BEEF.” These products were distributed to federal establishments for further processing.
-35 lb. boxes of “Sampco Brand FROZEN COOKED BEEF, Salt Added.” These products were distributed to federal establishments for further processing.
Each product package bears “BRASIL 337 S.I.F,” as well as “Product of Brazil” or “Packed under Brazilian Government Inspection.” The products subject to recall were produced in Brazil on January 20, 2010.