UBC Food Distributors Inc. in Dearborn, MI is recalling 7-ounce plastic jars of their Baraka brand “HOT CURRY POWER” and “CURRY POWDER,” after testing by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development found high traces of lead, which is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, infants and children.

This recall notice joins another curry powder recall from earlier this week, which included six other brands of curry powder, for excessive lead levels. According to the most recent recall notice, “This product was purchased from an importer, who, along with the FDA, are now in the process of contacting the source, so that corrective action can be taken on their part.” The recall notice did not state the country of origin for the curry powder being recalled by UBC Food Distributors Inc.

Less than 20 cases of the recalled Bakara brand curry spice products were shipped by UBC Distributors Inc. between June 15 and July 31, 2018 to distributors in Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri and Colorado.

Packaged in 7-ounce plastic jars, the recalled curry powders have UPC Codes “822514265566” and “822514265535.” Consumers can identify the recalled curry powders by checking for those numbers.

According to the recall, no illnesses have been reported to date by public health authorities. Use or consumption of this product may elevate lead levels in the blood.

“This recall is being made with the knowledge of the Food and Drug Administration and is being done voluntarily by UBC Food Distributors Inc and its affiliates,” the recall notice said.  It did not name either the importer or country of origin for the recalled curry brand.

Consumers are being asked to cease use of the recalled products, and immediately return any unused portions to the outlet of purchase. Consumers can call UBC Customer Care at 877-846-8117 with additional questions.

Advice to consumers

Lead is a toxic substance present in our environment in small amounts and everyone is exposed to some lead from daily actions such as inhaling dust, eating food, or drinking water. In general, the small exposure to lead within the U.S. population does not pose a significant public health concern.

However, exposure to larger amounts of lead can cause lead poisoning. While lead can affect nearly every bodily system, its effects depend upon the amount and duration of lead exposure and age. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, irritability, weakness, behavior or mood changes, delirium, seizures, and coma.

However, infants, young children and the developing fetus can be affected by chronic exposure to amounts of lead that may not result in obvious symptoms of lead poisoning. A child with lead poisoning may not look or act sick. Lead poisoning in children can cause: learning disabilities, developmental delays, and lower IQ scores.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

Sirob Imports Inc. is recalling, Corrado, Orlando Imports, Nouri’s Syrian Bakery, Mediterranean Specialty Foods Brand and Butera Fruit Market Curry Powder that was distributed to retailers in Illinois, New Jersey, and New York because it contains excessive levels of lead, which is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, infants and children.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the recall was initiated after FDA sampling found elevated levels of lead in the product. “The product sampling was conducted as a result of a consumer complaint regarding elevated blood lead levels in a child,” the recall notice said. The recalled product has not been definitively linked to this event but the investigation is ongoing.

Consumers can identify the recalled curry powder by the following brand names, which were packaged in 8-ounce and 16-ounce plastic containers:

Corrado
16 oz. – UPC: 0 12729 01100 7
8 oz. – UPC: 0 12729 01102 1

Orlando Imports
16 oz – UPC: 0 53760 45255 8

Nouri’s Syrian Bakery
8 oz. – 0 12729 01102 1
16 oz. – UPC: 0 1279 0110 7

Mediterranean Specialty Foods 
8 oz. – UPC: 0 12729 01102 1

Butera Fruit Market
8 oz. -0 12729 45273 2

Consumers can also identify the recalled curry powder by checking the product label for the following Lot Numbers:

GER302181, GER405081, GER403281, GER306181, GER104281, GER209081, GER301281, GER403281, GER505181, GER406181, GER504181, GER108081, GER106281, GER205181, GER309281, GER503281, GER306181, GER503081, GER302181.

No illnesses had been reported in connection with the curry powder as of Wednesday, according to the recall. The FDA warned consumers that exposure to larger amounts of lead can cause lead poisoning; “While lead can affect nearly every bodily system, its effects depend upon the amount and duration of lead exposure and age.” Symptoms of lead poisoning can include abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, irritability, weakness, behavior or mood changes, delirium, seizures, and coma. However, infants, young children, and the developing fetus can be affected by chronic exposure to amounts of lead that may not result in obvious symptoms of lead poisoning. According to the FDA, “A child with lead poisoning may not look or act sick,” however, “lead poisoning in children can cause: learning disabilities, developmental delays, and lower IQ scores.”

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

Spices USA Inc. of Hialeah, FL, is recalling 772 50-pound bags of Tasty Sawa Ground Turmeric because it contains elevated levels of lead. The company sells its products to distributors and re-packers, not directly to consumers. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem, according to Spices USA. Consumers are warned not to use the product. Lead can accumulate in the body over time, and too much of it can cause serious and sometimes permanent adverse health consequences. turmericrecall-iphoneThe recalled Tasty Sawa Ground Turmeric was distributed in Florida and New York states and also in the Dominican Republic, France, Colombia, Jamaica and Barbados. The product was packed in 50-pound yellow polypropylene bags printed with the following information: Brand Tasty Sawa, Lot Number 120674, Use By 4/2018, Country of Origin: India. The recall was initiated after FDA informed the company that product samples contained elevated levels of lead. According to Spices USA, the problem is in the plant in India where the product was packed. The company stated that the product was not handled, modified or opened by Spices USA Inc. before being shipped to buyers. All buyers have been contacted and advised to either return or destroy the product and to contact their customers with the same instructions if this product was repacked under another label, according to Spices USA. Consumers who have purchased the Tasty Sawa Ground Turmeric are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company representative at 1-800-583-0250 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EDT. There were several recalls this summer of imported ground turmeric and blended curry seasoning for elevated lead levels, including by Gel Spice Inc., JM Exotic Foods Inc. and Oriental Packing Co. Inc.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

recalled tunericA New Jersey company has expanded its recall of ground turmeric to include additional brands distributed nationwide. Excessive lead, which is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, infants and children, has been confirmed in the spice. Gel Spice Inc. of Bayonne, NJ, initially recalled its Fresh Finds branded ground turmeric the last week of July. “Routine sampling by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ food inspectors and subsequent more recalled tumericanalysis of the product by the New York State Food Laboratory revealed the elevated level of lead,” according to the company’s July 28 recall notice on the Food and Drug Administration’s website. In its expanded recall notice, Gel Spice added six brands of ground turmeric. “The products were distributed by various retailers throughout the United States,” according to the new notice. “Sampling and testing of another product, produced from the same bulk turmeric, revealed the elevated level of lead.” The additional turmeric being recalled by Gel Spice Inc. can be identified by the label information in the table below. Consumers who have purchased the recalled ground turmeric should discard the product, according to Gel Spice Inc. Consumers with questions about the recalled product may call 201-564-0435. Lead can accumulate in the body over time. Too much can cause health problems, including delayed mental and physical development and learning deficiencies, Gel Spice warned in its recall notices. Pregnant women, infants and young children especially should avoid exposure to lead. People concerned about blood lead levels should contact their physician or health clinic to ask about testing. The Fresh Finds brand ground turmeric powder recalled by Gel Spice Inc. is packaged in 3.75-ounce jars and has a UPC number of 81026-01230. The recalled product also has the codes of “B/B 03/08/19” or “B/B 05/18/19” on the neck of the jars. The recalled spice was distributed to Big Lots stores nationwide.

Brand/Description and Net Weight Lot/BB code UPC NUMBER
Spice Select/8 oz 03/18/19 076114007730
Market Pantry/0.95 oz 05APR2019 085239211038
Gel/15 oz 04/18/19 076114800867
Gel/15 oz 05/16/19 076114800867
Clear Value /0.75oz 04/27/19 036800354920
Lieber’s/2 oz 05/13/19 043427006361
Spice Supreme/2 oz 05/17/19 076114364628

  (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

Gel Spice Inc. is recalling ground turmeric powder that was distributed to retailers nationwide because it contains excessive levels of lead, which is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, infants and children.

Consumers can identify the recalled Fresh Finds branded ground tumeric by the code number printed on the neck of individual jars (above left) and the code printed near the bar code on the back label (above right).
Consumers can identify the recalled Fresh Finds branded ground turmeric by the code number printed on the neck of individual jars (above left) and the UPC number printed near the bar code on the back label (above right).
“Routine sampling by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ food inspectors and subsequent analysis of the product by the New York State Food Laboratory revealed the elevated level of lead,” according to the company’s recall notice on the Food and Drug Administration’s website. The Fresh Finds brand ground turmeric powder is packaged in 3.75-ounce jars and has a UPC number of 81026-01230. The recalled product also has the codes of “B/B 03/08/19” or “B/B 05/18/19” on the neck of the jars. The recalled spice was distributed to Big Lots stores nationwide. The Bayonne, NJ, company, which has been importing and manufacturing spices, herbs, seeds and other baking ingredients since 1955 encouraged consumers to discard the recalled Fresh Finds brand turmeric. Consumers can call the company at 201-564-0435 for additional information. No illnesses had been reported in connection with the turmeric as of Thursday, according to the recall. “Lead can accumulate in the body over time. Too much can cause health problems, including delayed mental and physical development and learning deficiencies. Pregnant women, infants and young children especially should avoid exposure to lead. People concerned about blood lead levels should contact their physician or health clinic to ask about testing,” the company warned in the recall notice. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

California consumers were warned on Monday not to eat three varieties of Santos brand candies imported from India after tests found they contained lead levels in excess of state and federal standards. The three candies are:

  • Santos Rewadi Gur (7 and 14 ounce packages)
  • Santos Sugar Rewadi (2 lb. package)
  • Santos Sesame Candy (2 lb. package)

Tests by the California Department of Public Health found that some of the candies contained as much as 0.31 parts per million (ppm) of lead. Both California and federal FDA recommendations set a maximum lead limit of 0.1 ppm in candy. The products were imported and distributed by Santos, Inc., of San Leandro, CA.       

OnTime Distribution is recalling PRAN brand Turmeric spice powder because it contains high levels of lead. Recent analysis of the product found that it contained lead levels as high as 28 and 42 parts per million. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not set a specific limit on lead in spices but has set a maximum level of 0.1 parts per million (ppm) in candy. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency has stated that lead levels of 0.015 ppm in drinking water requires treatment. The recalled spice powder was distributed in New York and New Jersey through retail stores and direct delivery. The recalled product is packed in 250 and 400 gram clear plastic jars with yellow lids and “Best Before” dates  Oct. 26, 2014 and Jan. 15, 2015. Consumers who have purchased PRAN Turmeric are urged not to consume the product and should return it for a refund. Lead can accumulate in the body over time and too much of it can cause health problems like delayed mental and physical development and learning deficiencies. Pregnant women, infants and young children especially should avoid exposure to lead. The FDA reports that one illness complaint has been received to date.  

A plant commonly referred to as female ginseng and used to make soup is being recalled because of excessive levels of heavy metals.

Murray Int’l Trading of Brooklyn, NY, is recalling its Angelicae Sinensis because it may contain elevated levels of lead and cadmium, according to the company’s recall notice posted by the Food and Drug Administration.

Recalled Angelicae Sinensis

“The recall was initiated after FDA routine sampling revealed elevated levels of lead and cadmium in the product. Subsequent investigation is underway,” the notice states.

“. . . exposure to larger amounts of lead and cadmium can cause poisoning. While these heavy metals can affect nearly every bodily system, its effects depend upon the amount and duration of lead exposure and age.” 

Symptoms can include abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, irritability, weakness, behavior or mood changes, delirium, seizures, and coma. 

Infants, young children and a developing fetus can be affected by exposure to amounts of heavy metals that may not result in obvious symptoms of lead poisoning. A child with heavy metal poisoning may not look or act sick. Heavy metal poisoning in children can cause learning disabilities, developmental delays, and lower IQ scores.

The recalled Angelicae Sinensis was distributed in the following states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachutes, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Virginia, Delaware, Rhode Island, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Texas through retail stores.

The Herbal Doctor brand Angelicae Sinensis is packed in a green plastic bag weighing 16 ounces (454g). It has a series of barcode numbers shown here:

767533-91001 767533-91005 767533-91011 767533-91018
767533-91019 767533-91020 767533-91049 767533-91050
767533-91057 767533-91060 767533-91062 767533-91068
767533-91070 767533-91071

The Herbal Doctor Brand Angelicae Sinensis is also packed in a clear plastic box weighing 12 ounces. It has a barcode number 767533-20097.

The Angelicae Sinensis 16-ounce bag barcodes are located on the back of the plastic bag on the bottom right corner. The Angelicae Sinensis 12-ounce packaged box barcode is located on the back of the box. 

No illnesses had been confirmed as of the posting of the recall notice.

Consumers who have purchased Herbal Doctor Brand Angelicae Sinensis are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 718-230-7888.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

Advantage Health Matters Inc. is recalling Organic Traditions brand dried bitter apricot kernels from retailers nationwide in Canada because of excessive levels of a natural toxin that can cause cyanide poisoning.

Some of the apricot pits do not expire until December this year, according to a recall notice posted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Health officials are urging consumers to check their homes for the recalled product. No one should eat any of the implicated apricot kernels.

“Apricot kernels naturally contain amygdalin, which can release cyanide after being eaten. The human body can eliminate small amounts of cyanide, but larger amounts can result in cyanide poisoning, which could lead to death,” according to the notice.

Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include weakness and confusion, anxiety, restlessness, headache, nausea, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, seizures and cardiac arrest.

Anyone who has consumed any of the recalled apricot pits and developed symptoms of cyanide poisoning should seek medical attention at once.

Recalled apricot kernels are:

Brand Product Size UPC Codes
Organic Traditions Dried Bitter Apricot Kernels 227 g 6 27733 00900 3 LOT:AHM900190228D
EXP:05/2020 LOT:AHM900190321D
EXP:05/2020 LOT:AHM900190417D
EXP:05/2020 LOT:L200421135
EXP:12/2021

On Jan. 25, 2020, Health Canada established a maximum level (ML) of 20 parts per million (ppm) total extractable cyanide in apricot kernels sold as food. This ML allows Canadians choosing to consume apricot kernels to do so in a similar fashion as other more common types of seeds and nuts sold in Canada, while protecting them from the risk of cyanide poisoning, according the national agency.

Apricot kernels used as an ingredient in other foods must also meet this ML. Apricot kernels that do not meet Health Canada’s ML will not be allowed to be sold in Canada.

According to European health officials, apricot kernels are safe to eat in processed products, like almond biscuits, as the baking process reduces levels of the toxin. They resemble small almonds and have an almond-like taste.

A 2016 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinion found eating more than three small raw apricot kernels, or less than half of one large kernel, in a serving can exceed safe levels. Some sellers promote them as a cancer-fighting food and promote intake of 10 and 60 kernels per day for the general population and cancer patients, respectively.

According to European Commission Regulation No. 2017/1237, apricot kernels must not contain more than 20 milligrams per kilogram of hydrocyanic acid.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

A New York import-export company is recalling an undisclosed volume of ground cumin because it was found to be contaminated with lead.

Sol Andino Import & Export of Jackson Heights, NY, distributed the ground cumin to retail stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, according to the recall notice.

Consumers can identify the recalled product, which is packaged in 2-ounce plastic bags, by looking for the UPC number 884752003812. No other traceability information was provided in the recall notice. The notice did not include product photos.

“The contamination was discovered after routine sampling by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors and subsequent analysis by Food Laboratory personnel revealed the presence of excessive levels of lead in some 2-ounce packages of the ‘Ground Comin’ (Ground Cumin),” according to the recall notice posted July 10 on the department website.

“Distribution of the product has been suspended while the company continues their investigation to find the source of the problem.”

The lead levels measured in the recalled cumin are high enough to cause health problems — particularly in infants, small children, pregnant women, and those with underlying kidney disorders, according to New York officials.

If a child or a pregnant woman is exposed to lead, permanent damage can be caused to the central nervous system. Children can develop learning disorders, developmental defects, and other long-term health problems.

“Pregnant women, children and patients with underlying kidney problems who may have consumed this product should consult with their physician or health care provider,” according to the recall notice.

Anyone who has purchased the recalled cumin is urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company Sol Andino Import & Export at 917-288-4704.