Recalled Veggie Booty Maker Blames Chinese Made Seasoning for Salmonella OutbreakJul 12, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP
The manufacturer of recalled Veggie Booty snacks says that seasoning imported from China is to blame for a recent outbreak of Salmonella poisoning linked to the popular children’s treat. Robert’s American Gourmet Food, Inc., the Long Island-based maker of the Veggie Booty snack, said in a press release that its own tests confirmed that the seasoning was the source of the Salmonella bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued the Veggie Booty recall order June 28 after more than 50 cases of Salmonella poisoning were reported in people who had eaten the snack. Last week, Robert’s voluntarily expanded the recall to include Veggie Tings, another of its products, because those are made with the same seasoning used in Veggie Booty. Meanwhile, the Salmonella warning has prompted another company, www.wellbaskets.com, to issue its own consumer warning, as many of the company’s gift baskets include Veggie Booty snacks.
Robert’s press release said the company had suspected that the seasoning was behind the Veggie Booty contamination because it is the only component of the product that is not cooked. Robert’s claims that high temperatures used in the cooking process would have destroyed any Salmonella bacteria found in other ingredients. The seasoning in question, a mixture of various dried vegetables, is added to both Veggie Booty and Veggie Tings after cooking is complete. The FDA has yet to confirm Robert’s findings, but if it does, the seasoning will be the latest in a series of Chinese imports found to be defective. In the past few months, tires, toys, food and other products manufactured in that country have been recalled due to poor design or contamination.
Wellbaskets.com, a company that specializes in “healthy” gift baskets featuring all-natural and organic products, is warning its customers to throw away any Veggie Booty included in its baskets. The snack food is often included in the company’s baskets, which have been featured on Fox News and in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
Salmonella is a potentially deadly type of food poisoning, symptoms of which included fever, abdominal pain, nausea, gas and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms appear within 36 hours of exposure, and usually last four to seven days. In very severe cases, Salmonella can lead to kidney failure and other complications. Salmonella can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Some victims of Salmonella will develop a disease called Reiter’s Syndrome, a difficult- to- treat condition that causes severe joint pain, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. Reiter’s Syndrome can plague its victims for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis.
The FDA is telling anyone who has Veggie Booty treats in their home to throw them away immediately. Robert’s Gourmet Foods is also offering refunds to customers who purchased Veggie Booty or Veggie Tings. Anyone who has eaten the snack foods should be on guard for Salmonella symptoms, and should contact their physician if they experience any gastro-intestinal illness.