Missing lot codes slow sprout recall

05/03/2012 12:18:00 PM
Coral Beach

Courtesy of Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer SafetySoybean and natto soybean sprouts from Henry's Farm In., Woodford, Va., are under recall for possible listeria contamination. State officials said they are having difficulty tracking what retailers and foodservice operations received the sprouts because the packaging does not have lot codes or other traceable labeling and the company does not have complete records about their distribution.Government food safety officials say a listeria-related sprout recall by Henry’s Farm Inc. is hampered because the sprouts were distributed without lot codes or other traceable labeling and the company's records are incomplete.

As of May 3, no illnesses had been reported, but it was not known what quantities of the Spring Water Soybean Sprouts and Spring Water Natto Soybean Sprouts had been distributed.

Investigators were also unsure who bought the sprouts because of inadequate records. They believe ethnic markets and restaurants are the primary customers of Soo Park, the owner of Henry’s Farm, Woodford, Va.

“After reviewing records, we don’t feel we can give an accurate estimate on the volume that has been distributed – and certainly not a definitive answer,” said Elaine Lidholm, director of communications for the Virginia agriculture department.

“His records are incomplete and his labeling is inadequate so it’s difficult to determine how much product he moves. FDA and (our department) will determine a course of regulatory action. If he continues production, we can observe his process from beginning to end first hand and know from that point on how much he is distributing and to whom.

The initial April 27 recall involved sprouts sent to Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Test samples taken by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Safety showed positive results for listeria monocytogenes.

Henry’s Farm expanded the recall April 30 to include the natto sprouts. Calls to the company did not go through because its voicemail system was full and not accepting messages.

Lidholm said inspectors from the department and the Food and Drug Administration were at Henry’s Farm the week of April 30 as part of a continuing investigation. She said an interpreter might have to be called in to communicate with the owner.

The initial test samples came from product displayed at retail on April 17.

“This is gonna be a hard one since we don’t know how many were distributed initially due to no lot coding,” Lifholm said. “We’re going after this hot and heavy.”

The soybean sprouts are in 1.5-pound clear plastic packages and 10-pound plastic bags; the natto soybean sprouts are in 1-pound packages.

The FDA issued a recall notice on the sprouts that was dated April 30, but it was not posted on the agency’s website or sent to alert subscribers until May 2.



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Brunhilde Merker, CEO    
USA, FL  |  May, 04, 2012 at 08:29 PM

The FSMA (Foodsafety Modernization Act) requires more then just a lot code, mostly created out of the blue sky. You will need documentation what is happen all the way from production to retail not only at the lot code. For the COOL law the records have to be stored at retail level. As far as I can see www.ScoringAg.com is the only company with complete system with all-up and all-down traceback not only one-up and one-down AND recordkeeping altogether for $1.60 per field and year. Tracking a code number is not required by FSMA and as we can see in all the recalls, the retailers take everything off the shelves as the lot codes do not mean anything.

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