A nationwide seasoning recall that started with dips has expanded to include popular Pringles potato chips as FDA investigators report the company behind the recall kept shipping products even after finding them tainted with salmonella.
Proctor & Gamble has announced the recall of two flavors of Pringles: Restaurant Cravers Cheeseburger and Family Faves Taco Night. Both products included hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), an obscure but widely-used flavor-enhancing ingredient made by Basic Food Flavors, Inc.
An FDA report released today indicates investigators at Basic Food Flavors' plant in Las Vegas found dirty equipment and poor drainage. There was smelly, standing liquid pooled in the room where the HVP was made. The liquid tested positive for salmonella. But this was not the first salmonella finding in the facility.
"After receiving the first private laboratory analytical results (dated January 21, 2010) indicating the presence of salmonella in your facility," the FDA inspectors wrote in their report, "you continued to distribute HVP paste and powder products until 2/15/10. Furthermore, from 1/21/10 to 2/20/10, you continued to manufacture HVP paste and powder under the same processing conditions and did not minimize microbial contamination."
FDA officials last week announced they found salmonella on Basic's production line. The finding came as a chain of recalls already was rolling throughout the processed food industry.
Basic Food Flavors' HVP is an ingredient in thousands of products. About three companies, small and large, have recalled food that used Basic HVP as an ingredient.
The FDA has asked companies to recall only products -- like chips, pretzels and dips -- that are sold as ready-to-eat, with no cooking, straight out of the package.
As for the Pringles recall, Proctor & Gamble says the only two affected products "represent only one-half of 1 percent of Pringles' U.S. volume."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported no illnesses or deaths linked to these recalls.