February 07, 2008|
Jessica A. Chittenden
New Era Canning Company Expands Nationwide Recall
Risk of botulism from additional canned vegetable products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting consumers, food service operators, and food retailers that New Era Canning Company, New Era, Mich., is broadening its nationwide recall of canned vegetable products for a third time because of the potential for its foods to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum).
C. botulinum produces the toxin that causes botulism and can cause life-threatening illness or death. The affected New Era products are large institutional-sized cans, weighing between six and seven pounds, of various types of beans, blackeye peas, and asparagus.
To date, no illnesses have been reported to the FDA. However, consumers should not consume these products, even if they appear to be normal, because of the potential serious risk to health. Consumers who have the affected products, or who have used them in recipes, should immediately throw the cans and food away.
The potentially contaminated products are marketed under ten different brand names:
- Classic Sysco
- Frosty Acres Restaurant’s Pride Preferred
- Kitchen Essentials
- Monarch Heritage
- New Era
- Reliance Sysco
Processors other than New Era may be packing these brands. Only products packed by New Era are subject to the recall, so individuals must check the lot numbers on the bottom of the cans to determine if the product is affected by the recall. A complete list of specific brands, products, and lot codes subject to the New Era recalls can be found at http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/newera.html.
Symptoms of botulism poisoning in humans can begin from six hours to two weeks after eating food that contains the toxin. Symptoms may include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, and muscle weakness that moves progressively down the body, affecting the shoulders first, then descending to the upper arms, lower arms, thighs, and calves. Botulism poisoning also can cause paralysis of the breathing muscles, which can result in death unless assistance with breathing (mechanical ventilation) is provided. Individuals who have these symptoms and who may have recently eaten the products under recall or other food products made with them should seek immediate medical attention.
Any food that may contain the affected products should be disposed of carefully. Even tiny amounts of the C. botulinum toxin can cause serious illness when ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the eye or a break in the skin. Skin contact should be avoided as much as possible, and hands should be washed immediately after handling the food.
When disposing of these products, double-bag the cans in plastic bags. Make sure the bags are tightly closed, then place in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash outside of the home. Restaurants and institutions should ensure that such products are only placed in locked receptacles that are not accessible to the public. Additional instructions for safe disposal may be found at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/botulism_g.htm . Anyone with questions may call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.
This recall is the most recent to result from an ongoing investigation of New Era Canning’s processing plant by the FDA and the Michigan Department of Agriculture. The FDA initiated an inspection of New Era Canning, along with inspections of other low acid canned food manufacturers, following four cases of botulism in consumers who had consumed canned, hot dog chili sauce in the summer of 2007.
2008 Consumer Alerts