Kraft Foods announced a U.S. recall of its Baker’s Premium White Chocolate Baking Squares. The packaged foods maker cited concerns of possible Salmonella bacteria contamination.
The products affected include the UPC Code 0043000252200 and the best-when-used by dates of:
• 31 MAR 2008 XCZ
• 01 APR 2008 XCZ
• 02 APR 2008 XCZ
• 03 APR 2008 XCZ
The products were distributed across the U.S. The possibility of Salmonella contamination was discovered after the Food and Drug Administration conducted tests and noticed that some of the chocolate packages had Salmonella. Kraft says it is taking aggressive action to discover the source o the problem.
Salmonella is a bacteria that causes infections. Salmonella usually leads to diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps—and in people with a weakened immune system—death. Salmonella is foodborne, and can be spread via people eating contaminated food products.
Beef, milk, poultry, and eggs have been known to contain salmonella. Raw foods can contain salmonella, but cooking a contaminated food properly can kill the salmonella. A food item can also be contaminated with salmonella if the person that prepared their food did not wash their hands after going to the bathroom or already has salmonella and touches the food with their hands.
Nearly 40,000 salmonellosis cases are reported in the U.S. annually. Some 600 people die from salmonella every year. The elderly, young children, and those with weaker immune systems are most likely to contract salmonellosis.
The CDC offers consumers what they can do to avoid salmonella contamination:
• Cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly before eating. Do not eat or drink foods containing raw eggs, or raw unpasteurized milk.
• If you are served undercooked meat, poultry or eggs in a restaurant, don’t hesitate to send it back to the kitchen for further cooking.
• Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
• Be particularly careful with foods prepared for infants, the elderly, and the immunocompromised.
• Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles or birds, or after contact with pet feces.
• Avoid direct or even indirect contact between reptiles (turtles, iguanas, other lizards, snakes) and infants or immunocompromised persons.
• Don’t work with raw poultry or meat, and an infant (e.g., feed, change diaper) at the same time.
• Mother’s milk is the safest food for young infants. Breast-feeding prevents salmonellosis and many other health problems.
Food distributors, producers, and workers are legally obligated to ensure that their food products are not a health threat to consumers. When this obligation is not met, a person who becomes sick, injured, or dies because of the contaminated food product may have grounds to file a products liability claim or lawsuit.
Other common foodborne illnesses that can lead to a products liability case if the contamination is caused by negligence:
• Food poisoning
Kraft recalls white chocolate, CNN.com, October 4, 2007
Kraft Foods Recals Baker’s Premium White Chocolate Baking Squares Because of Possible Health Risk, Kraft.com, October 3, 2007
Related Web Resources:
What are Salmonella?, Salmonella.org
The personal injury law firm of Lebowitz and Mzhen represents clients throughout Maryland and the Washington D.C. that have become sick or injured because a food manufacturer, food distributor, food retailer, or restaurant was negligent in their preparation or handling of the food. To schedule your free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers, contact Lebowitz and Mzhen today.