Herr’s and Pringles Recalls: Salmonella-tainted Vegetable Protein

Some flavors of Herr’s potato chips and Pringles crisps have now joined a growing list of food products that have been hit by a vegetable protein recall issued over salmonella contamination, which the FDA now says could have been avoided.

On March 8, Proctor and Gamble, which manufactures Pringles potato crisps, and Herr Foods Inc. recalled some of their snacks due to the risk of salmonella poisoning. In both the Herr’s and Pringles recall cases, the potato chips were flavored with hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), supplied by Basic Food Flavors.

The latest products hit by the Basic Food Flavors recall include:

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  • Pringles Restaurant Cravers Cheesburger flavored potato crisps, with “Best by” dates of 02/2011 and 04/2011.
  • Pringles Family Faves Taco Night flavored potato crisps, with “Best by” dates of 03/2011, 04/2011 and 05/2011
  • Herr’s Cracked Pepper and Sea Salt Flavored Kettle Style Potato Chips, in 8.5 oz. bags with code dates of Feb 27, 2010 through MAY 15, 2010.
  • Herr’s Cracked Pepper and Sea Salt Flavored Kettle Style Potato Chips in 1.875 oz bags with code dates of Feb 27, 2010 through June 12, 2010.

Proctor and Gamble says in a press release sent out this week that it issued the Pringles crisps recall after one supplier alerted the company to the use of the recalled HVP in the two brands. The recalled Pringles were only sold in the United States. The Herr’s potato chip recall was announced on Monday by FDA. No illnesses have been reported in either recall.

HVP is similar to monosodium glutamate (MSG), except that it is a liquid instead of a salt. It is used as a flavor enhancer in many foods. Over the last three weeks the FDA has announced recalls for a variety of products that used Basic Food Flavors HVP, including T. Marzetti vegetable dips, and Castella Chicken Soup, among numerous others. All of the recalls stated that they were being pulled due to fears of salmonella food poisoning from HVP.

FDA has released a letter it sent to Basic Food Flavors (pdf) which indicates that investigators have determined that the company knew its products were contaminated with salmonella, but continued to distribute tainted HVP to unwitting customers for about three weeks.

The FDA letter states that Basic Food Flavors received a private laboratory analysis indicating the presence of salmonella in its facility on January 21, 2010, but continued to manufacture and ship out HVP paste until February 15 using the same processing conditions.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing mild to severe food poisoning. For most healthy adults, symptoms of food poisoning from salmonella typically resolve after a few days or weeks. However, young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems have an increased risk of suffering severe food poisoning after ingesting the bacteria. If not properly treated, some cases of salmonella food poisoning can lead to hospitalization, dehydration or death.

Salmonella Tennessee is a rare strain of salmonella, known primarily for being the strain that caused the February 2007 peanut butter recall.

2 Comments

  • deniseJuly 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    my friend and I eat pringles in which we never had before and we were visiting family when we eat them it was evening next day got so ill at the same time I ended up in emergency only later to find out that i had food poisioning i symtoms of diarrea stomach crampssevere and my friend kept throwing up it took me two days to recover and we were not able to eat out of town hospital treated me it too[Show More]my friend and I eat pringles in which we never had before and we were visiting family when we eat them it was evening next day got so ill at the same time I ended up in emergency only later to find out that i had food poisioning i symtoms of diarrea stomach crampssevere and my friend kept throwing up it took me two days to recover and we were not able to eat out of town hospital treated me it took me a while to figure out it wasn pringles i thought somthing else was what made us ill only others whom eat did not get ill only 3 of us that eat pringles got ill.

  • junkoMarch 10, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I did get sick after eating the chips but I did not think it would be salmonella. The symptons included a rash a strong headache and general weakness.

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