Food Safety Update: January, 2013

While the FDA’s proposed rules aimed at preventing foodborne illness are in their comment period, the troubling trend of food related recalls continues. Since January 1, 2013, the FDA has reported 14 food recalls for safety reasons. These recalls are based on contaminated products, undeclared ingredients and metal fragment contamination. Among the recalls:

  • Annie’s Inc., is recalling frozen pizza products that contain metal fragments. According to the company, a fine metal mesh screen failed at a third-party flour mill and fragments of the metal mesh have been found in flour and pizza dough.
  • Knott’s Fine Foods recalled chicken salad sandwiches due to their possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes which is especially serious in the elderly, children, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. The sandwiches were sold in three states over 35 retail stores.
  • Belmont Confections recalled numerous lots of cookie and brownie bars that contain undeclared peanuts, after becoming aware of the problem by a distributor. The bars were distributed both in the United States and internationally from March to December of 2012.

These recalls highlight the issues the FDA is tackling with food safety in the United States. In its most recent Center for Food Safety “Constituent Update,” the FDA reported that it had “reinstated the food facility registration of Sunland Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of peanut products linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney last fall, after a federal judge entered a consent decree of permanent injunction imposing requirements on the firm.” This reinstatement came after Sunland Inc., was found to be the source of a 2012 tainted peanut butter outbreak.

Currently the FDA has no scheduled meetings regarding food safety, but a number of dockets are currently open for public comment regarding different food safety issues and proposed regulations.