Knott’s Wholesale Foods Inc. has been making “pickled eggs” for the past 63 years, but now they’ve got only until the end of the month to do some explaining to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Then Paris, TN-based business that was started by Cedric and Mildred Knox in a small home kitchen in 1947, making sandwiches and salads, received a July 15 warning letter for its “pickled eggs”.

FDA says Knott’s Wholesale, which today distributes its products nationally through such retail chains as Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Kroger, SuperValu, IGA, E.W. James, Piggy Wiggly, and Food Giant, has 15 working days to respond to FDA’s concerns about its “pickled eggs.”

In the warning letter, FDA says the Knott’s “pickled eggs” are misbranded because they do not bear required nutritional information.  The agency says Knott’s may be eligible for a “small business” exemption from nutritional labeling requirements.

FDA also says the “pickled eggs” are adulterated because Knott’s did not notify the agency about the heating process it planned to use to control the pH, salt, sugar, and preservative levels for the acidified food product.

“If the citric acid, salt, sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate are present in more than an insignificant amount in the ‘Pickled Eggs’ product, they need to be listed as part of the ingredient statement for the ‘Pickled Eggs’ product,” the warning letter said.  “If the sodium benzoate and/or potassium sorbate are functioning as preservatives in the finished product, their function needs to be included in accordance with the requirements of Section 403(k) of the Act and 21 CFR 101.22(j).”

Except for those “pickled eggs,” however, Knott’s emerged from its last FDA inspection on March 9 and 10 with its many other products appear to be in the clear.  

Those include Pimento Cheese, Chicken Salad, Ham Salad, Tuna Salad, Jalapeño Pimento Cheese, Mustard Potato Salad, American Potato Salad, Creamy Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, Macaroni, and Pickled Bologna.