Taylor Farms quashes recall after false test - The Packer

Taylor Farms quashes recall after false test

05/31/2012 07:10:00 PM
Mike Hornick

A false positive result for E. coli in random testing of salad at a Florida restaurant proved costly for Taylor Farms California Inc. after issuing and then cancelling a voluntary recall, company president Alec Leach said.

The recall began May 30 after the Food and Drug Administration informed Salinas, Calif.-based Taylor Farms of a positive test result for E. coli O157:H7 in a sample taken at a restaurant in Tampa, Fla.

According to the California Department of Public Health, the Rhode Island Health Laboratory did the tests.

The company asked customers to pull bagged foodservice salads with code dates STF137A3, STF137A4, STF138B3 and STF138B4.

The action turned out to be unnecessary.

Just before noon May 31, the FDA notified Taylor Farms that the result was actually a false positive, Leach said.

“We rescinded what was under way because there is no health risk,” he said May 31. “This (recall) was extensively communicated around the entire industry. It was an error by regulators’ testing.”

“Unfortunately it was a huge waste of time, effort and resources for many people and very confusing, to say the least,” Leach said. “We’re happy there was no health risk but very unhappy with what’s happened in the last 48 hours.”

Leach said the initial contact from the FDA surprised him.

“We took the appropriate action based on the FDA information, and now we are rescinding it,” he said. “Unfortunately significant damage has occurred to our business and our customers’ business due to the recall.”

Insurance that would cover losses because of food safety issues beyond a company’s control, such as the Taylor Farms recall, has been discussed recently. In early May, during United Fresh 2012, a panel stressed the need for the insurance, which does not currently exist.

The Taylor Farms recall reversal happened a week after another Taylor company, Taylor Farms Retail Inc., voluntarily recalled organic baby spinach after a random sample tested positive for salmonella.

No illnesses were reported in either recall.

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Earlene Lewis    
Salinas, Cal 93901  |  June, 01, 2012 at 09:03 AM

This is really bad for our industry...Hopefully the Industry can come up with a solution to this issue before it happens again...

Maryland  |  June, 01, 2012 at 09:53 AM

Is anyone concerned that distirbutors who were slow to respond may see incidents like as a reason to delay future recall action plans? It is ironic that the most damage is done to the best actors who react the fastest and bad actors get off with no costs or lost time and productivity. We will always react the way we do becuase we can not allow peole to be sickened by produce or inaction, but the playing fields need to be leveled sooner then later. Hopefully through accelerated industry improvement and not illness or worse.

salinas  |  June, 01, 2012 at 09:20 AM

Someone other than Taylor Farms should have to pay for all the monies lost in this False Positive Error!!!!!! It is very costly regarding moneywise and reputation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Arroyo Grande, CA  |  June, 01, 2012 at 09:38 AM

Yes, how about Rhode Island Health Laboratory?

California  |  June, 01, 2012 at 11:21 AM

This is indeed unfortunate. There are a number of presumptive positives that do not confirm. Was this the case here? Did someone in Rhode Island jump the gun or was there an FDA agent pressing for a call before it should have been made?

Georgia  |  July, 06, 2012 at 06:26 AM

In my opinion, FDA should give a *Heads-up to private industry, if the sample yields a presumptive test reading. This would give private industry prior notification-whereas there would be no suprises in the event the presumptive reading turned into postive results for a foodborn pathogen.

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