Year-End Food Recalls Put Consumer Health at Risk

Certain beverages, produce, chicken and snacks pulled from shelves due to food safety concerns
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Fresh Express spinach pack
Packaged spinach products under the Fresh Express and Publix brands have been recalled due to Listeria concerns.

During the last holiday dash and as the year winds down, food and beverage recalls are affecting grocers around the country. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and various food manufacturers have called for the removal of certain products that pose potential hazards to consumers.

[Read more: "Food Safety Is Good for Business"]

Here’s a recap of recent cases:

  • Following the October recall of fruit puree and applesauce pouches from the WanaBana brand and, later, from the Schnucks and Weis store brands, the FDA determined that some samples exceeded the lead threshold by as much 2,000 times. Moreover, an agency official recently declared that this may be a case of intentional tampering. As of Dec. 19, the FDA received 69 reports of “adverse events” among children under the age of six that have been tied to the recalled product. 
  • Salad company Fresh Express is recalling two spinach products for a potential health risk from the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes: 8-oz. packages with the product G332 and use-by date of Dec. 15 and 9-ounce packages of Publix Spinach with the product code G332 and use-by date of Dec. 14. The products were sent to retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The recall follows a positive result for L. monocytogenes from a routine sampling in Florida. 
  • Simmons Prepared Foods, Inc. is recalling more than 26,550 pounds of boneless chicken bites under the TGI Fridays brand due to the possible presence of plastic contaminants. The products were produced on Oct. 3 and have a lot code KL3K03 and best-by date of Dec. 26. No confirmed injuries or illnesses have been reported. 
  • The Quaker Oats division of PepsiCo, Inc. is recalling more than 40 specific granola bars and granola cereals because of possible contamination with Salmonella. Many of those products have best-by dates of Aug. 2024.  No reports of illness have been confirmed. 
  • The Coca-Cola Co. is recalling 2,000-plus soda cans that were distributed in Southern states due to concerns about possible contamination with foreign material. The recall includes the following products: 12-pack fridge packs of 12-ounce aluminum Diet Coke cans with the UPC code 49000028911 and a best-by date of Jan. 29, 2024; 01/29/24; 12-pack fridge packs of 12-ounce Fanta Orange cans with the UPC code 49000030730 and best-by date of July 29, 2024; 12-pack fridge packs of 12-ounce aluminum Sprite cans with the UPC code 49000028928 and best-by date of July 29, 2024.
  • A November recall of whole and cut cantaloupe has expanded to include a batch of TruFresh cantaloupe from Stop & Shop that would have been purchased between Oct. 23 and Nov. 11. As of Dec. 5, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 302 cases of Salmonella foodborne illnesses potentially linked to cantaloupe consumption, with 129 hospitalizations and four deaths. The Malichita and Rudy brands of whole cantaloupes are affected, as are pre-cut cantaloupe products from retailers including ALDI, Kroger, KwikTrip, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s and Walmart, among others. 
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