New Era Canning Recalls More Botulism Tainted Green BeansJan 21, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP New Era Canning is recalling canned beans for a third time amid botulism fears. More concern about potential food poisoning prompted Michigan’s New Era Canning Company to expand its two earlier product recalls to now include all canned green beans and garbanzo beans distributed nationwide in the last five years. This is the third botulism-related recall issued by New Era Canning Company since December 21st.
Earlier this month a records review identified that cans from lots of Mexican style chili beans, green beans, and dark red kidney beans shipped to food service and retail customers may not have been properly cooked. In late December, New Era voluntarily recalled 1,026 cans of green beans because of contamination concerns discovered through Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing. Also, the FDA inspected New Era, along with other low-acid canned food (LACF) manufacturers, following four cases of botulism in consumers who ate canned hot dog chili sauce in the summer of 2007.
Clostridium botulinum, also called C. botulinum, can cause botulism, rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin produced by this bacterium. The classic symptoms include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. Left untreated, symptoms may progress to cause paralysis of the arms, legs, trunk, and respiratory muscles. Symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food, but can occur as early as six hours or as late as 10 days. The respiratory failure and paralysis that occur with severe botulism may require a patient to be placed on a ventilator for weeks; however, if diagnosed early, botulism can be treated with an antitoxin. While this can prevent patients from worsening, recovery takes weeks.
Affected cans are large institutional-sized containers, weighing approximately six and a half pounds. New Era produces canned products under other brand names and labels; therefore, recalled products may not necessarily be labeled with New Era's name and cans may bear a variety of product codes or no codes. Consumers who are unsure if a product is subject to the recall should dispose of it. Regardless of brand name or label, or the presence or absence of a code, recalled cans should not be opened or used. The FDA is advising customers that even small amounts of the toxin ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the eye or a break in the skin can cause serious illness; skin contact should be avoided and hands washed immediately after handling the food. When disposing of the tainted food, double-bag the cans in plastic bags, ensure the bags are tightly closed, and place the bags in a trash receptacle for non-recyclable trash outside the home. Restaurants and institutions should ensure products are placed in locked receptacles not accessible to the public.
While no illnesses have been reported to the FDA, consumers should not eat these products. New Era is taking immediate action to retrieve all inventories of the products throughout the distribution chain, including consumers' homes, nursing homes, schools, warehouses, restaurants, retail stores, and health care facilities and other facilities. For specific brands and codes of green beans and garbanzo beans that are subject to this recall, see www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/newera.html or call the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD.