NCDA&CS inspectors remove more than 10,000 cans
of recalled food from store shelves across state
Local public health officials joining inspection effort
RALEIGH – Inspectors with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have removed more than 10,000 cans of potentially contaminated food products that were still on store shelves across the state two weeks after a recall was issued. Because of the findings, state officials are expanding efforts to make sure the products, which could contain a toxin that causes botulism, are removed from sale.
NCDA&CS inspectors have visited nearly 1,500 grocery and convenience stores, distribution centers, warehouses and food banks in the past week, looking for the recalled products, said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. The products include more than 25 brands of chili, beef stew, corned beef hash and flavors of canned dog food produced by Castleberry’s Food Co. of Augusta, Ga. A list of the recalled products is available online at www.fsis.usda.gov.
“Our inspectors are finding that a lot of smaller stores and markets across the state had not been informed by their suppliers of the need to remove these products from sale,” Troxler said. “We’re partnering with state and local environmental health specialists and public health staff to visit additional stores to identify and remove any of the products still on shelves.”
At least four cases of botulism connected to the recalled food products have been confirmed in Indiana and Texas.
“Although we haven’t yet had any cases of botulism related to this recall in North Carolina, we want to make sure that we do everything to protect the public from a potentially fatal illness,” State Health Director Leah Devlin said. “While state and local workers are making certain that these potentially dangerous products are off the shelves, we also want to remind the public to look for these products in their kitchens. If you have any of these products, discard them following guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Double-bag unopened cans before throwing them away.”
The CDC recommends that consumers wear gloves and eye protection if dealing with an opened product. Put the product in a sealable bag, then wrap two plastic bags around it and tape it tightly. Dispose of it in household trash out of reach of humans and pets. Slowly remove gloves and dispose after use. Wash hands with soap and running water for at least two minutes.
Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin. Symptoms of botulism include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth and muscle weakness. The illness can cause paralysis, respiratory failure and death. Symptoms usually occur from 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food.
Anyone who is experiencing any of these symptoms should immediately contact a physician. For additional information about botulism or disposal guidelines, visit the CDC’s Web site at www.cdc.gov/botulism/botulism.htm.