FDA Announces a Recall of Foods with Tainted HVP — Will it be the biggest food recall in history?

Person SickCheck your cabinets, fridge, and freezer for products that have been recalled because they contain a flavor enhancer known as HVP (hydrolyzed vegetable protein).  The recall affects only products containing HVP paste or powder distributed by Basic Food Flavors, Inc.  The problem is that some lots of this common flavor enhancer were contaminated with salmonella (http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/HVPCP/).  The recall was announced by the Food and Drug Administration on March 4.  The list of products that may be tainted has been growing rapidly—to 177 as of April 1.  

The kinds of products affected include gravy mixes, dips, pre-packaged meal products, snack mixes, soup mixes, stuffing, and more.  Some of these food items are not cooked before they’re consumed, so there is a risk of  becoming ill from the pathogens.  Here’s  a partial list of the brands on the FDA's recall list: Concord Foods, Follow Your Heart, Hawaiian, Homemade Gourmet, Great Value, Johnny’s Fine Foods, Kroger, McCormick, Oak Lake Farms, Pringles, Quaker, Reser’s, T.Marzetti,Trader Joe’s, and Ventura.

The FDA has posted a list of products affected by this recall.  To reach the FDA site on this recall, click here: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/HVPCP/   On the site, you can type in the brand name or product name of a product you have at home and find out whether or not it is part of the recall.

If you have any of the listed products in your pantry, return them to the store for a refund.

Though you may never have heard of it, HVP goes into thousands of products.  It is, like monosodium glutamate, a salty and savory flavor enhancer that perks up the taste of soups, sauces, chilis, stew, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, chips, dips, salad dressings, and other edibles.

The contaminated HVP all came from a Las Vegas company, Basic Food Flavors, Inc., in either paste or powder form.  The first known tainted lot was produced in September, 2009.  According to a March 11, 2010 article in The Washington Post, FDA inspection records have revealed that  Basic Food Flavors found out that its plant was contaminated in late January but kept shipping the product to food manufacturers around the country without doing clean-ups that would have minimized contamination. The company produces more than 20 million pounds of HVP every year.  


FDA http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/HVPCP/

The Washington Post, March 11, 2010

Chicago Tribune, March 6, 2010

Examiner.com  “McCormick products part of growing HVP recall: Salmonella in your pantry part III.”

Google  “Flavour Enhancer”


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