Millions of pounds of food — packaged under major brands including Libby’s, Tyson and Chef Boyardee and ranging from canned spaghetti and meatballs to frozen, ready-to-eat chicken strips — are under recall in the U.S. and Canada because of a labeling error by an unidentified bread crumb supplier.
The recalls started Thursday with an 87-ton recall of frozen burgers, meatballs and other raw and ready-to-eat beef products by Maid-Rite Specialty Foods LLC. In the following two days, eight more companies recalled fresh and frozen foods for a total of more than 3 million pounds of food pulled from retailers, restaurants, institutional kitchens and consumers’ homes for the lack of the word “milk” on the label.
Milk is a known allergen and federal law requires it to be declared on food labels. The recalls under FSIS jurisdiction are “Class I” status which is defined as: “This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”
All nine recalls, posted on the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) website, include the following language, except in one the word “crackers” is used instead of bread crumbs:
“The problem was discovered on June 6, 2017, when the company received notification from an ingredient supplier that the bread crumbs the company received and used in the recalled products potentially contained undeclared milk.
“There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. … Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”
The recalls do not name the bread crumb/cracker supplier whose labeling mistake on its products started the cascade of recalls, which is expected to continue, according to FSIS staff and their counterparts at the Food and Drug Administration.
Both FSIS and FDA have provisions by which mislabeled food can be relabeled and resold. However, each food company must work out the specific details with the agency that has jurisdiction over their products. Depending on the shelf life of products and other factors, some recalled must be destroyed, which could easily be the case for the fresh salad products included in the bread crumb recalls.
As of Sunday evening, no foods under the jurisdiction of the FDA had been recalled in connection with the bread crumbs. The FSIS enforces food safety regulations and supervises recalls of meat, poultry and egg products. Most other foods, including shell eggs, are under the jurisdiction of FDA.
An FDA spokeswoman said Friday that the agency is aware of the situation and expects in the coming days to receive recall notices from companies not covered by FSIS.
Recalls posted so far
With the most recent listed first, following are companies that have posted recalls citing a supplier error on its ingredient list for bread crumbs/crackers that left off milk. Click on the company name to read the entire recall notice on the FSIS website.
Packer Avenue Foods Inc. of Philadelphia is recalling 9,690 pounds of refrigerated, ready-to-eat chicken salad produced on various dates from May 17 through May 26. Brands covered by the recall are Main Street and Packer Avenue Foods.
Gourmet Boutique LLC of Jamaica, New York and Phoenix, is recalling 294,744 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat breaded chicken cutlets and diced breaded chicken cutlets produced on various dates from Feb. 3 to June 2. The recalled products are Gourmet Boutique brand.
Tyson Foods Inc. of New Holland, PA, is recalling 2.48 million pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat breaded chicken patties and fritters produced and packaged on various dates from Aug. 17, 2016, through Jan.14, 2017. Brands covered by the recall are Tyson and Spare Time.
Conagra Brands Inc. of Milton, PA, is recalling 700,125 pounds of canned spaghetti and meatball products produced on Jan. 5 and 12. Brands covered by the recall are Libby’s, Del Pino’s, Hy-Top, Food Hold, Essential Everyday and Chef Boyardee.
Fresh Selections Inc. is recalling an undisclosed amount of refrigerated meatballs and spaghetti in Canada. The product is packaged under the Fresh Selections brand.
Pork King Sausage of New York City is recalling 44,035 pounds of raw, refrigerated sausage link products produced on various dates from Feb. 16 through June 2. Brands covered by the recall are Pork King and Peter’s Wholesale Meat Corp.
Advance Pierre Foods Inc. of Portland, ME, is recalling 54,699 pounds of frozen chicken tenders produced on various dates from Feb. 14 to May 24. The recalled products are labeled with the Barber Foods brand.
Water Lilies Food Inc. of Astoria, NY, is recalling 4,335 pounds of frozen ready-to-eat breaded chicken strips produced on March 24, 27, and 28. The product does not have a brand name on its packaging, but labeling indicates it is distributed by FoodHold USA LLC.
Aldon Food Corp. of Schwenksville, PA, is recalling 18,570 pounds of chicken salad produced from Jan. 1 through May 31. Brands covered by the recall are Block & Barrel, Market Source, Don’s Salads and Hymie’s.
Maid-Rite Specialty Foods LLC of Dunmore, PA, is recalling 174,000 pounds of frozen, raw and ready-to-eat beef burgers, patties and Salisbury steaks produced between March 13 and May 26.
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