FDA spots bacteria in common food additive; no illnesses yet reported
THURSDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- A wide array of food products are being recalled after traces of salmonella were discovered in a common ingredient, officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced late Thursday.
Salmonella Tennessee has been found in a widely used brand of hydrolyzed vegetable protein, a common flavor enhancer that is added to processed foods, the FDA said.
Products such as dips, salad dressings, pre-packaged meals, snacks and soup mixes from a variety of makers are included in the recall. A full list of the items involved in the recall can be found at Foodsafety.gov.
"At this time, there are no known illnesses associated with this contamination," FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said during the news conference.
The FDA said the problem was identified after a customer of the manufacturer, Las Vegas-based Basic Food Flavors Inc., notified the FDA in early February that they found salmonella in one lot of the company's hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
The FDA collected and analyzed samples at Basic Food Flavors' plant and found Salmonella Tennessee in processing equipment. Based on this finding, Basic Food Flavors is recalling all hydrolyzed vegetable protein in powder and paste form that was produced since Sept. 17, 2009.
Dr. Jeffrey Farrar, FDA's Associate Commissioner for Food Protection, said that although the contaminated product is in potentially thousands of food items, it poses a low risk to consumers.
The risk remains low because the ingredient makes up less than 1 percent of any foods. In addition, these foods often go through a cooking step, which kills the bacteria, Farrar noted.
"We believe the risk represented by this recall is very low to consumers," he said.
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