- A broad range of products have been recalled due to detection of Salmonella Tennessee in hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), a common flavor booster.
- The detection was initially made by a client of Basic Food Flavors Inc., and further investigations led to the recall of all HVPs in powder and paste form manufactured since September 17, 2009.
- The risk factor is perceived to be relatively low, as HVP typically forms less than 1% of any food item, and the cooking process usually eliminates the bacteria.
- Companies have been advised to either discard or decontaminate the recalled product following FDA guidelines. Consumers are cautioned to adhere to cooking instructions for all foods.
- Salmonella can cause serious symptoms like fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps, particularly in infants, elderly people, and those with compromised immunity. In severe cases, it may lead to serious illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis, and arthritis.
A broad range of food items are now being taken off the shelves following the detection of salmonella contamination in a regularly employed component, as declared by officials from the U.Food and Drug Administration.
Salmonella Tennessee, a strain of the bacteria, was detected in a popularly used variant of a flavor booster known as hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), which is routinely added to processed foods.
Products Involved in the Recall
A wide range of products including dips, salad dressings, ready-to-eat meals, snacks and soup mixtures, produced by different manufacturers are included in the recall. A full listing of the recalled items is available at the the official website.
“At this time, there have been no reported illnesses linked to this contamination,” announced the FDA Commissioner during a recent press conference.
The Origin of the Problem
The issue emerged when a client of Basic Food Flavors Inc., based in Las Vegas, alerted the FDA in early February about the detection of salmonella in a single batch of hydrolyzed vegetable protein manufactured by the company.
Following this, the FDA conducted inspections at the plant, resulting in the discovery of Salmonella Tennessee in the processing equipments. Consequently, all batches of hydrolyzed vegetable protein in powder and paste form, manufactured since 17th September 2009, are being recalled by Basic Food Flavors.
Though the contaminated product is present in possibly thousands of food products, it poses a minimal risk to consumers, inferred Dr. Jeffrey Farrar, FDA’s Associate Commissioner for Food Protection.
The Risk Factor
The risk is perceived to be low owing to the fact that the ingredient forms less than 1% of any food item. Furthermore, these foods usually undergo a cooking process which is powerful enough to eliminate the bacteria.
“The likelihood of this recall posing any significant risks to consumers is very low. Most food items that have incorporated this product, albeit at a very low proportion, have ‘destroying steps’ in place that can totally eliminate salmonella,” he stated. Only those food items that lack this ‘destroying step’, are being recalled.
Companies have been advised by the FDA to either discard the recalled product or rehabilitate them in adherence to the agency’s guidelines. The FDA is cautioning consumers to inspect the recalled product list and strictly adhere to the “cooking instructions for all foods.”
Moreover, the FDA urges anyone experiencing symptoms of salmonella infection to contact their healthcare provider.
Effects of Salmonella
Salmonella can induce serious, and occasionally deadly infections, particularly in infants, elderly people and individuals with compromised immunity. According to the FDA, healthy individuals inflicted with salmonella generally experience symptoms like fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.
In most cases, healthy individuals are able to recover from a salmonella infection in just four to seven days, without any treatment. However, in rare instances, the bacteria may enter the bloodstream and cause serious illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis, and arthritis.
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