Oatly has blamed a quality issue for recalling an oat drink in two European countries.

The company has received 29 complaints and two people reported stomach illness.

Detection of Bacillus cereus led to the recall of Oatly 1 liter in Finland and Estonia with a best before date of Dec. 1, 2022 and lot code 1335T4.

The drink, made in Sweden, had been on sale in Finland since late January in certain stores and online.

Oatly advised people not to consume the affected batch.

Oatly action
A company spokesperson told Food Safety News that the health and safety of consumers is a top priority.

“We have identified a quality issue with one specific batch of Oatly Kaurajuoma 1 liter sold in Finland and Estonia, in which the bacteria Bacillus cereus has been detected,” said the spokesperson.

“As soon as we became aware of the issue, we initiated a recall of the products potentially affected from specific stores, and began additional investigations, working closely with the relevant authorities and partners.

“Oatly is taking every possible precaution and following all internal and external protocols, working to investigate the root cause and ensure that quality routines are of the highest standards. We have full traceability for our products, and this is not anticipated to have any impact on our product supply in general.”

The Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto) and Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) did not take the opportunity when asked to provide further details about the incident or those sick.

There are two types of Bacillus cereus food poisoning. One mainly causes diarrhea and the other mostly leads to vomiting.

The incubation period is usually between 1 to 16 hours, depending upon which type it is, and illness lasts between 12 to 24 hours. If symptoms occur between 1 to 5 hours it is likely the vomiting type, whilst the diarrhea type occurs after 8 to 16 hours.

Bacillus cereus is acquired through contaminated products that have not been cooked or warmed to a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria, or through cooked foods not stored at low enough temperatures to prevent the bacteria from multiplying.

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