In a recall involving two companies that have recently been forced to deal with a large number of food safety concerns, General Mills is recalling select quantities of its frozen Beyond Meat Vegetarian Indian Curry, a product sold exclusively at Whole Foods Markets.
The recall comes as a result of concerns that the frozen meals may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially deadly pathogen that is especially dangerous to young children; the elderly; immunocompromised individuals; and pregnant women, who may experience miscarriages or stillbirths if infected.
“Beyond Chicken” Only Meat Substitute Product Effected
The recall only encompasses Beyond Meat Vegetarian Indian Curry with “Beyond Chicken.”
“Beyond Meat” contains an entire line of products with different meat substitutes. Again, the only products affected by the recall in this case contain the chicken meat substitute; no other meat-substitute products in the Beyond Meat line are affected.
The recalled products have the following “Better Used By” dates:
- 10NOV2016 NL;
- 12NOV2016 NL;
- 15NOV2016 NL;
- 16NOV2016 NL;
- 20NOV2016 NL;
- 24NOV2016 NL; and
- 25NOV2016 NL.
This is the third Whole Foods Market product recall Food Poisoning News has reported in the past two weeks. In addition to the recalls, the company received an Enforcement Letter from the US Food and Drug Association – one of the most severe admonitions available to the agency.
Recall Involves Two Companies with Food Safety Troubles
This recall is catching the attention of many in tune to general food safety news due to the two companies in play: General Mills and Whole Foods. Both companies have been buried with food safety concerns over the past month, and this recall brings the two together.
General Mills: Recalled Flour Contaminated with E. coli O121 Sickens 42 Nationwide
General Mills, who is the manufacturer of the recalled product, expanded its flour recall just last Friday after testing of flour found at an outbreak victim’s house showed that flour not subject to the ongoing recall was also contaminated with the potentially deadly bacteria E. coli O121, which is in a particularly virulent class of E. coli known as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that the outbreak linked to the company’s flour, sold under Gold Medal, Wondra, and Signature Kitchen brands, is confirmed to have caused 42 outbreak cases at this point, although there are very likely many additional cases that have gone unreported or whose reports have not yet reached the CDC.
The outbreak has claimed victims in 21 states, including Alabama (1 case), Arkansas (1 case), Arizona (2 cases), California (2), Colorado (4), Iowa (1), Illinois (4), Indiana (1), Massachusetts (2), Maryland (1), Michigan (4), Minnesota (3), Missouri (1), Montana (2), New York (1), Oklahoma (2), Pennsylvania (2), Texas (2), Virginia (2), Washington (3), and Wisconsin (1).
The details regarding the recalled flour are posted on the FDA website. The agency also felt compelled to issue guidance regarding consumption of foods made with flour in an attempt to prevent additional outbreak cases.
Whole Foods Market: Enforcement Letter Followed by Multiple Recalls
About two weeks ago, an Enforcement Letter sent from the FDA to Whole Foods Market on July 8th hit the press. In it, the FDA admonished the company for its failures to address multiple food safety concerns in its food processing plant located outside of Boston.
The FDA Enforcement Letter
The letter cited problems including condensation dripping from the ceilings, doorways, and fans near food; failure to separate dirty dishes from ready-to-eat salads; failure to sanitize food preparation stations; failure to change gloves between different tasks; and not even taking precautions to keep cleaning supply fluids (such as ammonia) from touching ready-to-eat products.
Pesto Pasta Salad Recall
Ten days after the date on the FDA Enforcement Letter, on June 18th, Green Cuisine Pesto Pasta Salad sold exclusively in certain Whole Foods Markets was recalled due to potential contamination with Listeria. The recalled products were sold in Whole Foods locations in Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona on June 15th and 16th.
The recall came as a result of one of the pasta salad’s ingredients – green peas – testing positive for Listeria. The recalled products had “best by” dates of June 20th, and are likely no longer in consumers’ homes.
Raw Macadamia Nut Recall
Just three days after the company’s pesto pasta salad recall, raw macadamia nuts sold exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington were recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
As Food Poisoning News detailed in its article regarding the macadamia nut recall, Whole Foods had recalled the same product for the same reason less than a year before the ongoing recall was announced. That recall affected raw macadamia nuts sold in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma and Utah – all of the states involved in the current recall with the exception of Oregon and Washington, with the addition of many more.