The Fall Continue due to Valley Milk Products
Five months after the U.S. Marshals Service raided a powdered milk factory at the request of FDA, many companies are drawn into the Salmonella recall linked to milk powder and buttermilk produced by Valley Milk Products (VMP). The US Marshalls seized more than 4 million pounds of dried milk and buttermilk, due to possible Salmonella contamination, and down-stream food companies are still initiating recalls.
Twinkies by Hostess
This week the iconic snack Twinkies joined dozens of other food companies as a victim of a secondary recall because of Salmonella contamination at VMP. In the recall notice the company recited: “The confectionary coating contains milk powder ingredients recalled by Valley Milk Products LLC due to a concern of Salmonella contamination. No illnesses have been reported to date, and none of the confectionary coating sampled has tested positive for Salmonella. However, Hostess is initiating this voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution”
A diverse group of additional products are being recalled due to the Valley Milk Products. Those companies used VMP, in most cases in small quantities in their seasoning. In no case was illness reported, and Salmonella was not recovered from any of the products. Some of the recent recalls include:
Palmer, a privately-held, fifth-generation, almost 150-year-old company manufacturing chocolate and holiday confections, announced a limited recall of chocolate products after being informed by VMP that a milk powder ingredient used in a compound chocolate coating that they supplied to Palmer had the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The recall is the result of a potentially contaminated milk powder ingredient recalled by VMP, a derivative of which was included as a small portion of the ingredients by another company in a confectionary coating supplied to Palmer. The products were shipped by Palmer Candy Company to grocery and convenience stores and wholesale customers nationwide. Two Publix-branded products, almond bark and peppermint bark and the Wal-Mart brand “The Bakery” variety bowl are among the products included in this recall.
The company recalled Smoked Chipotle flavored Kettle Cooked Potato Chips under the Herr’s Brand and Smoke Dried Chipotle flavored Kettle Cooked Potato Chips under the Peddler’s Pantry Brand. These products were flavored with Chipotle seasoning that contained a milk ingredient manufactured by VMP.
Dawn Food Products voluntarily recalled limited quantities of bakery mix products manufactured for Dawn by a third party and affected by a recall from VMP. In abundance of caution the company recalled affected items distributed by Dawn Foods, including items which could become available at retail locations.
The company voluntarily recalled limited quantities of House- Autry Buttermilk Cornbread Mix, House-Autry Buttermilk Biscuit Mix, and House-Autry Cheese Biscuit Mix as a precaution because one of the company’s third-party ingredient suppliers, Franklin Farms, had purchased milk powder from VMP. According to Franklin Farms, testing has proved that no pathogenic bacteria have been found in the powdered milk product supplied to House-Autry Mills, and in addition, when consumers follow the preparation instructions, there is no risk since the heat step will kills potential Salmonella. However, out of an abundance of caution the company has decided to recall products produced from the specific lot received from that ingredient supplier.
The company issued a recall of Sour Cream & Onion Kettle Chips. This decision was made after being informed by a seasoning supplier that an ingredient in the seasoning may have contained traces of Salmonella. Although tests have shown no existence of Salmonella in the seasoning supplied to Dieffenbach’s, out of abundance of caution they voluntarily recalled these products in conjunction with FDA guidance. To date, there have been no reported illnesses associated with this product.
On December 19th, Route 11 Potato Chips was advised by its seasoning supplier that an ingredient in its Sour Cream & Chive seasoning was subject to a recall. Since the nonfat dry milk powder, was produced by VMP. Although no pathogenic material was found in the finished product supplied to Route 11, the kettle chip maker decided out of an abundance of caution to recall its Sour Cream & Chive Potato Chips, 2oz and 6 oz bags.
Bickel’s Snack Foods, Inc. recalled all snack products that were made with milk ingredients supplied by VMP. Bickel’s Snack Foods initiated a recall of products made with milk powders or sour cream. No lab tests have confirmed the presence of Salmonella in these products and no illnesses have been reported.
Southeastern Mills, Inc.
The company recalled Southeastern Mills® Biscuit Gravy Mix, Southeastern Mills® Country Biscuit Mix, Southeastern Mills® Buttermilk Drop Biscuit Mix, Southeastern Mills® Easy Drop Cheddar Garlic Drop Biscuit Mix, Shore Lunch® Original Breading and Shore Lunch® Cajun Style Breading since these ingredients and food mixes contain milk or buttermilk powder purchased from VMP.
Mikesell’s Potato Chip Company recalled 2.25 oz. Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips. The recalled Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips were distributed in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois. The products contain VMP ingredients.
Tupperware U.S., Inc.
The company recalled limited quantities of Southwest Chipotle Seasoning, since the product was manufactured for Tupperware by a third party blender of seasonings. This recall is being carried out after the FDA found traces of Salmonella at the facility where buttermilk powder, one ingredient in the seasoning mix, was manufactured.
The Questions Remain
How many more companies are going to go through this recall process due to Valley Milk Products? The raid was in August. If the products are dangerous to the public they should have been removed from commerce a long time ago. With no single reported illness, and no Salmonella found in any of the recalled products, are we using too much caution? Is there a better way to handle the chain reaction of this type of recall, were trace quantities of a potentially contaminated product get embedded in so many other products? At the age of the Internet it should not take months to finish the recall.