The Michigan firm that this week recalled soy flour products suspected of being contaminated with Salmonella had a similar problem last year and, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report, twice released shipments of non-GMO soy flour that had tested positive for Salmonella.
Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chip Chewy Coated Granola Bars; Lovin Oven’s Healthy Valley Organic Peanut Crunch, Dutch Apple and Wildberry Chewy Granola Bars, Jenny Craig’s Chocolate Chip Trail Mix Bars, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars and GFN Foods Gluten-Free were all recalled in 2010 because Thumb Oilseed soy flour was an ingredient.
Because the company’s latest recall involved non-GMO soy meal and flour that had been distributed to wholesale customers since last November, more product recalls are expected again. The company says the flour was used to make human and animal food.
No illnesses have been reported.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 483 report, issued after inspections conducted from Jan. 28. to Feb. 23, 2010, Thumb Oilseed Producers’ Cooperative had in the 14 months prior:
— Had a private lab analyze a lot of Non-GMO soy flour for Salmonella on Dec. 22, 2008. The lab reported a positive test result the same day. The lot was retested by the same lab on Jan. 12, 2009 and then released into commerce in four different deliveries in January, February, March and September 2009.
— Had a private lab analyze Non-GMO soy flour for Salmonella on Oct. 2, 2009. The lab reported a positive test result the same day. The entire lot was released into commerce as animal feed on Oct. 19, 2009.
The inspection report also charged the company with failure to take necessary steps to minimize contamination, failure to clean and sanitize utensils and equipment, failure to maintain buildings and fixtures in a sanitary manner and failure to exclude pests from processing areas.
Among other specifics, the inspectors noted what appeared to be bird droppings on the outside of the soybean cleaner. A live bird was seen flying in the cleaner room and another 15 birds were seen in an adjacent waste storage room. Birds had access to either room through two holes, the report stated.
In a June 24, 2010 warning letter to Thumb Oilseed Producer’s Cooperative, the FDA said tests were positive for Salmonella senftenberg from samples collected in 43 areas inside the plant, including in finished organic soy flour, indicating the bactera had established a niche environment in the facility.