FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2008
Joe Reardon, director
NCDA&CS Food and Drug Protection Division
NCDA&CS honored by FDA for work on food recall
RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has been recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its work last year to remove potentially harmful food from shelves across the state.
The department received a Special Citation from FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach during the federal agency’s annual Honor Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“We are thrilled to have our work to protect North Carolinians recognized by the FDA,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said. “We share this award with our other state and local health agencies who worked hard on the Castleberry’s recall. We appreciate their efforts. Food safety is truly a collaborative that involves many agencies and individuals, and this award would not have been possible without teamwork.”
Last summer, Georgia-based Castleberry’s Food Co. recalled 90 products because of possible contamination with a toxin that causes botulism. The products included 27 brands of chili, beef stew, corned beef hash and flavors of canned dog food.
Concerned that the products weren’t being removed from sale quickly enough, NCDA&CS inspectors, along with other state and local health authorities, conducted a blitz to check shelves at locations across the state. In 15 days, they visited 16,000 locations and removed 35,000 cans of product.
“FDA salutes the efforts of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services during the 2007 recall of certain canned products,” von Eschenbach said. “In response to reports of botulism illnesses that were subsequently confirmed through FDA analytical testing to be associated with hot dog chili sauce, FDA oversaw a massive recall involving approximately 49 million cans of foods potentially contaminated with the deadly Clostridium botulinum toxin.
“NCDA&CS employees helped prevent poisonings – and even deaths – by working quickly and effectively to discover and remove recalled products not only from retail locations, but also from daycare centers, summer camps and elder care facilities. As a result, there were no reports of illness as a result of ingesting recalled products in the state. Because of our strong collaborative working relationships with key partners like NCDA&CS, our ability to protect the American public from food borne illness is strengthened. We are very grateful for their contribution, and delighted to honor NCDA&CS with this citation.”
The department was nominated for the award by FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs recognizing its prompt, organized and effective response to protect citizens of North Carolina and collaboration with FDA.