FDA claims Basic Food Flavors were aware of salmonella contamination, but continued to ship products

Legal news for product liability attorneys. The FDA believes that Basic Food Flavors knowingly shipped contaminated HVP.

Product liability attorneys alerts- The FDA revealed that Basic Food Flavors knowingly shipped hydrolyzed vegetable protein with salmonella contamination.

Las Vegas, NV—Investigators with the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) http://www.fda.gov/ allege that the makers of the recalled hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), Basic Food Flavors, were fully aware that their plant was contaminated with salmonella but still continued to sell the flavoring to foodmakers across the U.S. The contaminated HVP resulted in the recall of over 100 products, which ranged from dips to salad dressing to soup bouillon, as reported by the Washington Post.

The HVP enhances a meaty or savory flavor that is used in numerous processed food products, which comes as a powder or paste. The salmonella contamination was detected in early February by a foodmaker who had purchased the HVP, and subsequently alerted the FDA. Within a few days of receiving the report, the FDA conducted 14 inspections within two weeks. Dirty utensils and equipment; mixers and tubing were coated with a brown residue; in addition to cracks and factures and standing water on the floor were all found while conducting the inspections, which are prime breeding areas for the bacteria. The inspectors also reported “in one area where paste mixers and belt dryers were positioned, FDA inspectors noted ‘standing, grey/black liquid’ in the drain near the area where the hydrolyzed vegetable protein was turned from paste to powder. We sensed an odor in the vicinity of this drain.”

On January 21, managers at Basic Food Flavors were told that samples that were taken a week before tested positive for salmonella, but still negligently continued to ship out the HVP to foodmakers. The plant was tested again in February, which returned a positive result of salmonella contamination. Basic Food Flavors still continued to ship out the product without cleaning the plant of equipment, which would have limited contamination. Investigators believe that contamination began in September 2009, which means that millions of pounds of HVP were shipped out in bulk loads to foodmakers in a five month time span. It is illegal to knowingly continue to sell food products that are contaminated with the salmonella bacteria. To date, there have been no reportes of people becoming sick from the contaminated HVP. Officials believe the health risk is low because most of the products that use HVP is usually cooked during processing or have cooking instructions for consumers. During the cooking process any salmonella would be killed before the food was consumed. Ready-to-eat products carried a higher risk due to the fact they are not cooked before consumption.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for product liability lawyers.

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