Last Minute Thanksgiving Food Recalls Questioned

Two dubiously-times, last-minute Thanksgiving food recalls are now being questioned. The foods were recalled on Thanksgiving Eve and involved very typical holiday dinner foods.

Cranberry giant, Ocean Spray, recalled some of its packaged and bulk Craisins over concerns the dried cranberry product contained hair-like, metal fragments, said MSNBC. Giant Eagle Inc. also recalled all of its Valu Time brand canned pumpkin purchased on or after August 30, 2011 and all its Food Club brand canned pumpkin purchased on or after October 28, 2011, over “imperfections in can packaging,” said spokesman, Robert Borella, wrote MSNBC.

Both recalls were implemented on the evening of November 23, the night before Thanksgiving, when many families were likely shopping for or cooking their Thanksgiving dinner meals, MSNBC pointed out. Now, many are wondering about how some food recalls are handled.

Ocean Spray advised the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA); the agency then issued a press release the day after Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Giant Eagle officials did not advise the FDA, saying there was no health issue involved with their recalled products. The FDA became aware of the Giant Eagle recall, said MSNBC, and issued a press release on the Monday night, after Thanksgiving.

Company officials in both cases said there was nothing unusual about the timing of their recalls, but some disagree saying it serves firms well to announce recalls when no one is really looking. According to Ocean Spray spokesman, John Isaf, the company advised the FDA on Wednesday, the same day it launched the recall, said MSNBC. Meanwhile, Giant Eagle spokesman, Borella, said the firm became aware of the problem on Wednesday and acted immediately to advise area media and consumers.

At the time, Giant Eagle said families could return to stores for replacement pies or pie ingredients before Thanksgiving dinner, the day after the recall and Ocean Spray said consumers with the UPC code and Best Buy date could receive a refund, said MSNBC. The FDA confirmed that companies are not banned from waiting until just before a busy holiday to recall foods consumers likely have in their homes. “A firm may decide of its own volition and under any circumstances to remove or correct a distributed product,” said FDA spokesman Doug Karas, quoting the rules, wrote MSNBC.

When possible health risks are suspected, the firm should advise the FDA immediately, said Karas. Companies must submit reports within 24 hours of being aware of a problem to the FDA’s Reportable Food Registry, MSNBC explained.

Ocean Spray spokesman John Isaf wrote to HuffPost clarifying the status of its recall, saying most recalled product was distributed to Western states. HuffPost and Ocean Spray did not provide a list of impacted states. The recalled Craisins were packaged in 5-, 10-, and 48-ounce packages and in 10-pound bulk containers. Food Safety News posted the sell-by date listing at:

Reuters explained that the Giant Eagle recalled Valu Time and Food Club canned pumpkins are produced by Topco Associates LLC; the pumpkin did not meet quality standards, according to a statement Giant Eagle made on the FDA website. Giant Eagle warned consumers not to eat any products or foods that included these products.

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