Food Allergies and food-borne infections, such as Listeriosis i.e., a bacterial infection of Listeria monocytogenes, are serious health concerns in the United States. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled five food products and supplements from leading food companies in the US, namely HP Hood LLC, Tippin’s Gourmet Pies, LLC, GMJ Natural Products Inc., Earnest Eats and Gardner Pie Company.
A food allergy is defined as a serious, often life-threatening reaction to a particular food that involves the immune system
Over the last decade, the incidences of food allergies have increased among children of all ages, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data sets from CDC suggest that 90% of serious allergic reactions in the United States are reported due to these eight major foods or food groups: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts and tree nuts.
Amongst these 8 sources, peanut allergies share the most amount of allergy burden caused by eating allergenic foods. People with weakened immune systems are an easy target for peanut allergies. According to FDA, two prominent US food companies, including Gardner Pie Company and Tippin’s Gourmet Pies, LLC, recalled their food products due to probability of having undeclared peanut residues in their food products.
Gardner Pie Company recalled its Cheesecakes and Key Lime Pies sold in retail stores between 4/11/2016 and 6/14/2016 due to the possibility of having undeclared peanut residues. This was unexpected as Gardner Pie Company is a leading name with 60 different varieties of products. Their distribution chain includes fund raiser organizations, restaurants, farm markets and other broad line distributors all around US.
The company took the initiative after it was brought to their attention that one of their suppliers-the Kellogg Company recalled a massive amount of Graham Crumbs made with flour that apparently had low levels of peanut residues present in them. As Graham crumbs were used in the manufacturing of two of their pies, FDA advised them to recall these two types of pie as a precautionary measure to avoid peanut allergy.
Another Kansas based company-Tippin’s Gourmet Pies, also voluntarily recalled their Key Lime Pie due the same risk of having peanuts residues in them.
It might be of some consolation that FDA has ensured that no health complication or any sort of adverse reaction or allergy was reported due to consumption of the pies, as of yet.
Similarly, suspicion of another major food allergen containing whey protein, present in a dietary supplement named as ‘Jugo Moringa Plus Antioxidant’, was also reported by the FDA. People allergic to milk or soy lecithin are most susceptible to developing fatal allergy after consuming this product. Therefore, to avoid such a situation GMJ Natural Products Inc., California, recalled 32 fl oz jugs of this supplement. The move was taken when the company became aware of the technical fault in the production and packaging processes of the company, and the subsequent non-inclusion of ‘whey protein’ in the product’s label.
Another milk related problem was observed in the Muscle Milk products of the HP Hood LLC. The company voluntarily recalled its protein drinks from one of its facilities in California. A packaging fault was detected in the plastic bottles of 14 oz and 10 oz MUSCLE MILK® Genuine, MUSCLE MILK® Pro Series and MUSCLE MILK® 100 Calorie, with an expiry date of November 21, 2016 through May 23, 2017. It was brought to the attention that there were chances of milk spoilage in the products with ‘HS’ code. FDA and the company urged against consuming these drinks and asked to consumers to claim for a refund, by returning the product to the nearest retail store.
Earnest Eats is a food company that provides quality snacks and cereals bars. They recalled their product, ‘Dark Chocolate Almond Chewy Granola Bar’, which was deemed to be made from sunflower seeds contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes.
Recently, FDA also reported four major food recalls due to possible Listeria outbreak. According to CDC, Listeriosis is a serious public health concern. Since individuals with weakened immune system, such as children, pregnant women and elderly over 65 of age, are most susceptible to the infection, FDA recommends washing raw vegetables thoroughly and properly cooking raw foods, including meat, in order to avoid this potential life threatening infection.