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Package Produce Recall. Could Have Cause 5 DeathsSAN ANTONIO — Texas health officials investigating five deaths have closed a San Antonio food processing plant and ordered a recall of all products shipped from there since January.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said the recalled SanGar Produce & Processing Co. items include fresh cut fruit and vegetables in sealed packages that are distributed to restaurants, hospitals and schools.
The agency said it closed the SanGar plant Wednesday after the agency linked six of 10 known cases of listeriosis to chopped celery produced at the plant. It did not say how many of the five listeriosis deaths it is investigating are linked to the plant. Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and vomiting.
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The agency said people were sickened with listeriosis in Bexar, Travis and Hidalgo counties and that all of them already had serious underlying health problems.
The company says on its website that "indirectly through several of our customers, our products are distributed in the Rio Grande Valley, Houston, Dallas and Oklahoma."
The DSHS said its inspectors found problems with sanitation at the San Antonio plant, including a condensation leak over a food production area, and prohibited SanGar from reopening the plant without agency approval.
In a statement late Wednesday, SanGar president Kenneth Sanquist Jr. defended the company's safety record.
"The state's claim that some of our produce now fails to meet health standards directly contradicts independent testing that was conducted on the same products," Sanquist said. "This independent testing shows our produce to be absolutely safe, and we are aggressively fighting the state's erroneous findings."
Sanquist declined to comment to The Associated Press on Thursday, referring all questions to the company's attorney. The Uresti Law Firm did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The health department recommends that customers throw out or return all SanGar products.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Moldy smell prompts another Tylenol recallNEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Tylenol caplets are again being recalled by Johnson & Johnson after some consumers were sickened by ingesting the pills or smelling or a musty or moldy odor on the bottles.
Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit received a "small number" of complaints from people who reported nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea after taking the pills, a spokeswoman said Monday.
This makes 13 recalls in barely a year by the health care giant, mostly for more serious problems with its nonprescription drugs, contact lenses, blood glucose test strips and hip implants.
It's the fifth time that the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company has recalled nonprescription medicines because of consumer complaints about an unpleasant odor.
The moldy odor is thought to be due to the presence of trace amounts of a chemical called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole, McNeil said in a statement.
Previously, the company said the chemical was on wooden shipping pallets that it has stopped using after Jan. 15.
Asked if that was again the case with the latest recalls, J&J spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said, "We've seen both.
"Some complaints have come in from smelling the bottles and some from ingesting the pills," Goodrich said.
She could not say whether any complaints from the prior recalls had involved people ingesting the pills.
The latest recall, announced Monday, covers one lot of Tylenol 8 Hour caplets in 50-count bottles.
McNeil said the recall is precautionary and the problems reported by consumers were temporary and not serious. The company said the risk of serious harm is remote.
The first two such recalls, both late last year, involved first five lots and then all product lots of Tylenol Arthritis Pain Caplet 100 count bottles with the red EZ-Open Cap.
On Jan. 15, J&J issued a large-scale recall of containers of children's and adult Tylenol, plus Motrin, St. Joseph's aspirin, Benadryl, Rolaids and Simply Sleep, also because of a moldy smell that had made people sick. Then on July 8, the company recalled 21 lots of Benadryl, Motrin and about nearly 20 varieties of Tylenol for the same reason.
J&J did not say how many bottles are in a lot.
Rival drugmaker Pfizer Inc. also recalled a product recently because of a musty odor, pulling bottles of its top-selling cholesterol medicine Lipitor on Oct. 9.
Pringles recall: Are your chips on the list?By Tracey D. Samuelson Correspondent
posted March 9, 2010 at 4:14 pm EST
If you were about to pop the top on a can of taco- or cheeseburger-flavored Pringles, you might want to hold that thought.
The meat-inspired chips are the latest products added to a recall stretching back to Feb. 26. Pringles's parent company Proctor & Gamble announced the voluntary recall Tuesday.
The chips contain hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), a common “flavor-enhancer,” made by Basic Food Flavors, Inc., that has been found to be contaminated with salmonella.
Products from 26 other brands have already been recalled (See here for complete list of products affected). That list could continue to grow, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still investigating.
Recalled products fall mostly into the soup, dip, snack mix, and salad dressing categories.
This is because they are considered “ready to eat products,” says Rita Chappelle, a spokesperson for the FDA.
Their processing doesn’t include a “kill step,” which would kill salmonella before leaving the factory, nor does their preparation involve cooking or high heats, which would also destroy the bacteria.
The good news is that this is a relatively “low risk” recall, Ms. Chappelle says. There haven’t been any reported illnesses associated with HPV to date.
Consumers should simply throw out any recalled products and check www.foodsafety.gov daily for any additions to the recall.
The contamination was discovered by a customer of Basic Food Flavors, Inc. during routine testing. The customer reported the salmonella contamination to the FDA, which then sent a team of investigators to confirm the contamination at Basic Food Flavor’s facilities.
So what is HPV exactly?
The FDA describes it as "a substance used in small amounts to add flavor to many commercially processed foods, such as soups, hot dogs, chilis, stews, dips, salad dressings, gravies, frozen dinners, and snack foods."
On its website, Basic Food Flavors, Inc. says its “product range encompasses all types of HVP. Whether your requirement is Liquid, Paste, Vacuum dried granules, Spray dried powder, or IP certified Non GMO, Basic Food Flavors produces it.”
Pringles Restaurant Cravers Cheeseburger, Super Stack Canister: 181 grams, UPC code: 37000 26936, with best by dates of 02/2011, 04/2011
Pringles Family Faves Taco Night, Super Stack Canister: 181 grams, UPC code: 37000 26773, with best buy dates of 03/2011, 04/2011, 05/2011
Johnson & Johnson Recalls Tylenol Aspirinohnson & Johnson issues massive recall of Tylenol, Motrin, and other over-the-counter drugs
By MARLEY SEAMAN
The Associated Press
Johnson & Johnson issued a massive recall Friday of over-the-counter drugs including Tylenol, Motrin and St. Joseph's aspirin because of a moldy smell that has made people sick.
It was the second such recall in less than a month because of the smell, which regulators said was first reported to McNeil in 2008. Federal regulators criticized the company, saying it didn't respond to the complaints quickly enough, wasn't thorough in how it handled the problem and didn't inform the Food and Drug Administration quickly.
The recall includes some batches of regular and extra-strength Tylenol, children's Tylenol, eight-hour Tylenol, Tylenol arthritis, Tylenol PM, children's Motrin, Motrin IB, Benadryl Rolaids, Simply Sleep, and St. Joseph's aspirin.
The FDA and Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare Products said they did not know the number of bottles recalled. It included caplet and geltab products sold in the Americas, the United Arab Emirates, and Fiji.
Consumers should check the full list at http://www.mcneilproductrecall.com to identify the recalled batches.
The FDA said about 70 people have been either sickened by the odor — including nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea — or noticed it.
The smell is caused by small amounts of a chemical associated with the treatment of wooden pallets, Johnson & Johnson said. The FDA said the chemical can leach into the air, and traced it to a facility in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico.
The New Brunswick, N.J., company said it is investigating the issue and will stop shipping products with the same materials on wooden pallets. It has asked suppliers to do so as well.
The FDA said McNeil knew of the problem in early 2008 but made only a limited investigation.
"McNeil should have acted faster," said Deborah Autor, the director of the FDA's Office of Compliance of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "When something smells bad, literally or figuratively, companies must aggressively investigate and take all necessary action to solve the problem."
The FDA sent McNeil a warning letter for violating manufacturing standards and failing to report and investigate the problem in a timely way, Autor said.
Johnson & Johnson has 15 days to respond. The FDA says it wants an explanation as to why the problem was not made public sooner.
In November, McNeil recalled some Tylenol Arthritis Caplets due to the smell. Almost three weeks ago, the company expanded its recall to include more batches of Tylenol Arthritis Caplets.
There have been no reports of nausea related to the most recent recall, the company said. McNeil, however, said the expanded recall includes product lots that could be affected by the same problems of nausea.
The company said it is working with the FDA.
Also on Friday, federal prosecutors in Boston said Johnson & Johnson paid tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks so nursing homes would put more patients on its blockbuster schizophrenia drug.
The government's complaint states that J&J gave special rebates to Omnicare Inc., the country's biggest dispenser of prescription drugs to nursing homes, in return for recommendations from its pharmacists that patients be given Risperdal, in many cases when it was inappropriate.
J&J said in a statement it "will address the government's lawsuit in court" and believes its rebates were "lawful and appropriate."
Johnson & Johnson shares fell 54 cents to $64.56 Friday.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Copyright © 2010 ABC News Internet Ventures
FDA Recalls Nestle Cookie Dough(Lifescript Health News) Another E. coli scare has hit the U.S. but this time the culprit is a cookie. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall for all Nestle Tollhouse refrigerated cookie dough products after linking the dough to infections in 66 people across 28 states.
Nestle said they would voluntarily recall all of their Tollhouse refrigerated and frozen cookie dough products after health officials alerted them to a possible connection between reported illness caused by E. coli 0157:H7 and the consumption of raw Tollhouse cookie dough. Twenty-five people have been hospitalized so far.
Do not eat this cookie dough raw – or even baked, warns the FDA. Cooking the dough isn’t safe because “consumers might get the bacteria on their hands and on other cooking surfaces,” the FDA says. And if you have any Tollhouse cookie dough products in your house, dispose of them immediately.
The E. coli strain in question is a bacteria strain, responsible for many food borne illnesses. Typically, E. coli 0157:H7 is spread by eating uncooked meat, unpasteurized milk or contaminated water. It’s not clear how the cookie dough may have become contaminated.
E. coli causes abdominal cramping, vomiting and diarrhea, often with bloody stool. Most adults can make a full recovery in a week but young children and senior citizens are at a high risk for developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening complication that leads to severe kidney damage, according to the FDA. Seven of the 25 people hospitalized from the Nestle outbreak developed HUS.
If you believe you’ve been infected with E. coli, take these measures:
• Diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration, so make sure you drink plenty of water. Drink slowly but frequently so you don’t overwhelm your body all at once.
• If you have blood in your stool, don’t take antibiotics or medication for diarrhea. These medicines slow digestion, letting the E. coli sit in your body longer and raising the risk of kidney infection. Speak to a doctor as soon as possible.
• If your family has used this cookie dough recently, wash down your kitchen to kill any lingering bacteria. Make sure everyone washes their hands vigorously.