Salmonella threat recalls bell peppers

10/07/2013 01:30:00 PM
Coral Beach

Orange County Produce LLC recalled more than 30,000 pounds of fresh red and green bell peppers because of potential salmonella contamination. The company had more than half of the peppers back in its possession within less than two days.

Ana Flor, food safety director for the Irvine, Calif.-based produce shipper, said Oct. 7 that company officials heard about the possible contamination Oct. 5 when Food and Drug Administration officials notified them. Orange County Produce immediately began contacting its customers, who buy in bulk, Flor said.

“We’ve actually got back about 700 boxes (25 pounds each), from our customers,” she said.

The company recalled about 1,200 boxes for a total of about 30,200 pounds of bell peppers.

The recalled red and green bell peppers do not have any retail packaging or other identifying marks, Flor said, because Orange County Produce ships to wholesalers and distributors only. The three recalled lots are SB 7 920, 923 and 924, according to a notice on the FDA website.

“We have talked to everyone who received those lots,” Flor said. “It’s nice to see that our traceability and notification procedures are working. This is our first recall so we’ve never had to put them to the test.”

A random sample collected Sept. 25 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture from one of the produce company’s Los Angeles customers returned a positive result for salmonella. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the bell peppers.



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Theresa Jakubcin    
Oviedo, Fl.  |  October, 08, 2013 at 09:28 AM

Enjoy reading your articles since I worked for (agriculture company) A.Duda & Sons for 23 years,it would be nice if when you put Orange County you would state if Ca.or Fl. since we also have Orange County Fl. Thank you.

John    
Florida  |  October, 08, 2013 at 09:38 AM

"Orange County" is part of the name of the company. The 2nd paragraph states it is a California company. Florida does not currently have bell pepper this early in the season.

Coral Beach    
The Packer newsroom  |  October, 08, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Theresa, thanks for reading our news and congratulations on a long career with Duda. As for Orange County Produce, it is a company name and we therefore don't include a state with it -- kind of like my name :) The company is based in Irvine, Calif., as mentioned in the story above. Regards, Coral Beach

Ben    
USA  |  October, 08, 2013 at 01:20 PM

The article talks only about the amount of recalled produce, not saying the amount of shipped produce. Their costumers bought in bulks, did they sold any in smaller packages or individual in the meantime und recalled them too? FDA detected the contamination on September 25th already. The recall started on Oct. 7th. No one distributed anything during this time?!?!. Why is someone carrying a title "food safety director" when there is no test made for contamination before shipping? A good-feel story that raises more questions about how serious this company and others are taking their responsibility for safe food!

Coral Beach    
The Packer newsroom  |  October, 08, 2013 at 09:24 PM

Ben, You are correct that sometimes there is a difference between the volume of produce being recalled and the volume distributed. That is not the case with this recall. The implicated lots total 30,200 pounds, all of which is subject to this recall. Also, the FDA did not have the positive test results on Sept. 25, that is the date USDA collected the samples. Testing takes several days. The FDA notified Orange County Produce company officials of the positive results on Saturday, Oct. 5. For details on the food safety programs at Orange County Produce, please visit: http://ocproduce.com/produce_safety.asp

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