Every can of the diet aid Slim-Fast sold in the United States is being recalled after dangerous bacteria was discovered by the manufacturer during a routine inspection, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced. A recall of the diet drinks is also being instituted in Canada.
Consumer products giant Unilever United States, Inc., which owns the Slim-Fast brand, said an unknown portion of an estimated 10 million ready-to-drink cans are tainted with Bacillus cereus, a micro-organism that can cause diarrhea, nausea and/or vomiting. The company said it's recalling every can of Slim-Fast drinks, spanning some 50 varieties, as a precaution and urges consumers to discard them. Other Slim-Fast products -- such as meal replacement bars and powdered drink mixes -- are not included in the recall.
Unilever spokeswoman Anita Larsen told WalletPop the suspected contamination took place at a plant in Covington, Tenn. All production and distribution of the ready-to-drink cans has been halted.
"We are in the process of identifying and correcting the production issue, and will resume production and shipment of the product when the issue has been addressed and corrected," Larsen said.
The 11-ounce cans were packaged in cartons of four, six or 12. Individual cans sold at some outlets, including convenience stores, are also subject to the recall. Unilever said in a written statement that regardless of the flavor date, product code or UPC, every can should be thrown out.
Consumers who bought ready-to-drink Slim-Fast cans should contact the company at 1-800-896-9479 for a full refund. Phones are being answered from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern Time weekdays and a recorded message will be on when the call center is closed.
Unfortunately, the Slim-Fast brand is no stranger to recalls. In fact, this is the second major Slim-Fast recall this year. Unilever recalled more than 430,000 cases of meal replacement and snack bars because they used nuts from Peanut Corporation of America, which operates plants that were found to be tainted with Salmonella .
Slim-Fast had two other high-profile recalls about a decade ago. More than 2 million cans of the drinks were recalled because of the risk of gastrointestinal sickness. And 192,000 cans were recalled a year earlier when they were suspected of being tainted with a caustic cleaning solution.
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