The US Food and Drug Administration have announced recalls for dozens of food products that contain hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) because of Salmonella Tennessee outbreak. HVP is a food product used to aid in adding flavor, similar to MSG.
In most cases, this salmonella infected hydrolyzed vegetable protein was purchased by food processors from a separate manufacturer known as Basic Food Flavors, Inc. based in North Las Vegas, NV. The HVP is manufactured primarily into paste and power by this company, and then distributed to other food manufacturers.
The FDA report (PDF) indicates that the manufacturer’s building at 3950 E. Craig Rd found Salmonella on non-food contact surfaces near food processing equipment throughout the facility, and said the company failed to “…minimize the potential for growth of microorganisms and contamination.” The report goes on to specify “light brown residue was observed on the ledge close to the hinge of the east door of Large Paste Mixer“… and that a “failure to conduct cleaning and sanitizing operations for utensils and equipment in a manner that protects against contamination of food-contact surfaces” was observed.
The FDA’s most recent report was issued on March 4th, 2010 and issued to Basic Food Flavors on March 9th, 2010. The investigation and survey by the FDA has been ongoing since February and the company notified its customers of the recall which affects paste made since September 17th, 2009. No deaths have yet been reported as a result of these recalls.
Several manufacturers including T. Marzetti, P&G, Castella Imports, Tim’s Cascade Snacks, Homemade Gourmet, and Earth Island were involved in the recall, which listed a salmonella contamination in products from those and other manufacturers. The list of brands and products is growing extensively as listed here and includes gravy mixes, dressings, bouillon products, snack mixes, soup mixes, vegetable / chip dip mixes, and stuffing products.
Most manufacturers took the initiative to voluntarily recall the products. With this many brands and types of food being affected by a recall it is important to recognize that the brand name manufacturers of these food products were not necessarily the same people who allowed the salmonella contamination into the HVP.