The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, along with other partners, are investigating possible Salmonella contamination of a whey ingredient that has caused the recall of several popular foods.
Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) of New Ulm, Minn., is recalling dry whey powder due to the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The FDA is working with AMPI’s customers to recall products that pose a potential risk to consumers. Mondelēz International Inc., Pepperidge Farm Inc., and Flowers Foods Inc. recalled certain products because they used the whey ingredient subject to AMPI’s recall. These recalled foods include a variety of Mondelēz’s Ritz cheese sandwiches and Ritz Bits cheese products, certain Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish, and Flowers Foods’ Swiss Rolls sold under various brand names.
Additional information about each specific recall is available on the FDA website. There may be additional recalls in the coming days, of other products, as the FDA’s investigation reveals other food producers who may have used AMPI’s whey powder in a manner that could expose consumers to the potential risk.
“We’ve committed to alerting consumers early when we become aware of a risk of potential foodborne illness, and intervening aggressively. Our goal, as much as possible, is to mitigate risk, reduce consumer uncertainty and avoid potential harms. These commitments are guiding our work related to this investigation. Sometimes it means we need to share information before we know that people have become sick, or even that they’ve been exposed to a contaminant, because we know there’s a chance they could be at risk. As much as possible, our goal is to prevent consumer illness. Such is the case with these recalls. Right now, these are preventive steps. There are no confirmed illnesses related to these products. But we know these products are consumed daily across our country, often by children, which is why we’re alerting consumers now,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.
“Our team is onsite investigating the facility that processes the dry whey used in the recalled products and we’re working to identify what other companies may have used this ingredient to determine what, if any, food may be contaminated with Salmonella. We take this work very seriously and will continue to communicate about this potential health risk as we learn more. Lately there have been many questions about whether we’re experiencing an uptick in food-related recalls. I can understand why it might appear that way, as we’ve increased our communications around food recalls and potential risks to food products. But we are not seeing an increase in the number or scope of recalls. Our tools for detecting them are much better, and our policies for how and when we alert the public lean in the direction of more and earlier communication. The American food supply is safer than ever before thanks to the preventive measures set forth in the landmark FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and advances in technology that help us detect and respond to problems.”
The FDA is continuing to investigate and will share more information as it becomes available.