Top 10 Worst Food Recalls of 2010

Blech! We used to think food recalls were a rare phenomenon.

Turns out American factory culture may not have changed enough since Upton Sinclair wrote "The Jungle," to stop bacterium-infected food products from hitting store shelves.

The last year has seen plenty of cases of potentially blinding, stomach turning, vomit inducing, facial swelling, and rash and fever making foods making it your neighborhood supermarket.

Here are our top 10 worst food recalls of 2010...

10. Tuna Loins - View Full Report
On November 3, 2010, Beaver Street Street Fisheries Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida voluntarily recalled 5-7 pound lots of tuna loin distributed to Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia because of potentially elevated levels of histamine that can cause an allergic reaction known as "Scombroid Poisoning." Symptoms associated with scombroid poisoning are "tingling or burning sensation in the mouth, facial swelling, rash,

hives and itchy skin, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea."

Top 10 Worst Food Recalls of 2010

9. Goya Frozen Mamey Pulp - View full report.
Back in August, on Friday the 13th, Goya issued a press release voluntarily recalling a mamey pulp product produced in Guatemala because of a potential health risk from Salmonella.  According to their statement  "persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis." The product was distributed across the United States.

Top 10 Worst Food Recalls of 2010

8. McCain Frozen Potato Product - View full report.
In March, McCain Foods USA announced that a "pepper ingredient" used in the All American Roaster frozen potatoes was potentially infected with Salmonella. The pepper was produced by Mincing Overseas Spice Company. The product was distributed throughout grocery stores all over the United States. A company release stated that "food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled."

via wikimedia
whole black peppercorns

7. Two Lots of Black Pepper - View full report.
In March, the Mincing Overseas Spice Company of New Jersey issued a recall of black pepper possibly contaminated with Salmonella. None of the product was sold at the retail level, but may have found its way into a number of products that use the ingredient, including the frozen potatoes listed above. The product was shipped to FL, IA, IL, IN, MA, OK, NJ, NY, PA, RI, TX and WI in 50, 25, and 20 pound cartons with the company's printed on them.

Top 10 Worst Food Recalls of 2010
via FDA

6. Haifa Shmaltz Herring - View full report.
Back in February the Haifa Smoked Fish Company of Queens, New York recalled a lot of whole shmaltz herring because it was found to be uneviscerated prior to processing. Uneviscerated fish is linked to botulism poisoning. According to a release posted on an FDA website, "Botulism is a serious and potentially fatal form of food poisoning that causes the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms."


Horse mackerel and prawns.
Horse mackerel and prawns.
image by Hiroshige

5. Boiled Horse Mackerel - View full report.
In January, Bao Ding Seafood of New York issued a recall on their Boiled Horse Mackerel product because of its potential contamination with the clostridium botulinum bacterium that causes Botulism. The vacuum sealed plastic packs of the fish were sold in New York state and were found to have been uneviscerated before processing.

4. Heluva Good Cheeses - View full report.
In January the HP Hood company of Massachusettes placed a recall on select containers of their Heluva Good 8 0z cups of cold pack cheese product (Port Wine and Sharp Cheddar) that may contain Listeria monocytogenes. According to the FDA "listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women." The recalled products were distributed across the eastern U.S.

Top 10 Worst Food Recalls of 2010
via FDA

3. Johnny's French Dip Powdered Au Jus - View full report.
In February, Johnny's Fine Foods of Tacoma, Washington recalled 6 oz. bottles and foil packets of their powdered au jus product potentially infected with Salmonella. According to the FDA, "The product was made using hydrolyzed vegetable protein manufactured by Basic Food Flavors, Inc. Las Vegas, Nevada. Basic Food Flavors initiated a recall of the hydrolyzed vegetable protein due to Salmonella contamination. This product should be destroyed immediately."

2. All Parkers Farm Products Regardless of Code Dates - View full report.
In January, Parkers Farm, Inc. of Coon Rapids Minnesota issued a total recall on all of their products regardless of "sell by" dates because of a potential listeria contamination. Products include peanut butter, salsas, dips, spreads, and cheeses. View the full report link to see the specifics. Some finished products were found infected.  Consumers are urged to return products to point of purchase for refund.

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1. Sangar's Dirty Celery - View full report.
In October, the Texas Department of State Health Services ordered the shutting down of the Sangar Fresh Cut Produce plant in San Antonio, Texas. The company was linked to celery product that showed signs of listeria infection. An investigation into 10 listeriosis cases linked the company to 6 instances of listeria infection from Sangar chopped celery. Five of the 10 reported cases were linked to death. The company is closed and all products ordered recalled.

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