Trader Joe's issues recall of cilantro products over salmonella fears

Trader Joe's cilantro recallUpscale grocer Trader Joe's has pulled four products off its shelves after its suppliers announced that cilantro used in the food may be contaminated with salmonella. California Pizza Kitchen, in a related recall, pulled certain batches of its BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad.

This is the second time within a month Trader Joe's has recalled an item over salmonella fears. The chain also warned its customers not to use Good Earth Caffeine Free Original Tea sold in its northern California, Oregon, Washington state, northern Nevada and Chelsea, N.Y., stores. The Good Earth tea was also sold at some Costco stores in California.

There have been no reports to date of people getting sick from eating the recalled food -- either the products with cilantro or the tea. Salmonella can cause a potentially life-threatening infection, especially in young children, the frail or those with weakened immune systems. Even in healthy people, the infection can cause fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea for three to five days.

The following products were recalled by Trader Joe's:
  • Cilantro Dressing, sku number 36420, with a sell-by date of 2/9/2011
  • Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette, sku number 80947, with a sell-by date of 1/9/2011
  • Cilantro Pecan Dip, sku number 76986, with sell-by dates of 11/20/2010 and 11/24/2010. This product was recalled only in the California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state Trader Joe's stores.
  • Spicy Thai Pasta Salad, sku number 74441, with sell-by dates of 10/31/2010 through 11/6/2010. This product was recalled only in the California stores.
  • Good Earth Caffeine Free Original Tea, sku number 43883, best-by dates of 19Aug12, 31Aug12 and 02Sep12.

On its website, Trader Joe's apologized to its customers and said consumers may return the products to any of its stores for a full refund. Salmonella fears also prompted Trader Joe's in February to recall its house brand of chocolate chip chewy granola bars.

In announcing the tea recall, Good Earth said that the tea contamination was discovered when routine testing showed a minor ingredient was contaminated with salmonella. Recalled from some California Costco stores were Good Earth Caffeine Free Original 25 count, UPC code 2701830401 and the tea is also part of the Costco 3-pack, UPC code 2701830169.

The company said consumers can return the tea to the store for a refund. Consumers with questions may call Good Earth at (888) 625-8227 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

The recalled Trader Joe's products that contained cilantro are part of a larger recall announced by food producer Orval Kent of Wheeling, Ill., through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Orval Kent said it was notified that one of its produce suppliers, Field Fresh Foods, had one lot of fresh cilantro recalled by its farmer because it was potentially contaminated with salmonella. EpicVeg Inc. of Lompoc, Calif., grew the cilantro and distributed it to Field Fresh Foods.

Orval Kent recalled a total of 43,814 pounds of food encompassing almost two dozen products made for retailers nationwide including name brands California Pizza Kitchen, Chef Solutions, Fish House Foods, Fry's and Trader Joe's.

The recalled products include several lots of California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad; one lot of Bistro 28 Cranberry Mango Pico de Gallo; a lot of Chef Solutions Mexican 5 Layer Dip; several lots of Fish House Foods Ceviche and Fajita Chicken Salad Kit; Fish House Foods SW Fajita Bean Salad with Chicken; Fry's Krab Ceviche; Orval Kent's Chipotle Chicken Pasta Kit and Cilantro Pecan Dip; and the Trader Joe's products. A full list of recalled products' UPC numbers is on the FDA site.

Orval Kent warned consumers who bought any of the food not to eat it and return it to the store for a full refund or replacement. Consumers with questions may call Orval Kent at (800) 544-1246 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern or e-mail recall coordinator Bill Schwartz.

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