It's time to check the pantry because a number of baked goods are being pulled from shelves and online retailers including Amazon in a wide-sweeping recall that has resulted in the temporary pause of production at a confectionery factory in Israel. Strauss Israel on April 28 issued a voluntary recall of its Elite-branded chocolate items after it was found the products may be contaminated with salmonella.
The recall impacts a number of items, including cakes, wafers, energy grain snacks, energy chocolate rice cakes, chewing gum, and toffee candies, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The recall includes all product codes currently on the US market. The recalled products were distributed in the kosher market nationally, primarily in the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, and Florida. However, the recall is further reaching than just those states, as the products were also sold directly to customers via Amazon.com, Fresh Direct, Passover.com, and all Retailer Online Sites. Consumers can find a full list of the recalled products, with UPC codes, package size, and images by clicking here.
The recall was issued after salmonella was detected in the production line and in the liquid chocolate that is used for the production of the finished products in the factory in which the products are made. Per Food Safety News, routine testing showed traces of Salmonella in the manufacturing area but not in food products on April 19. Strauss Israel issued a recall for all chocolate products made since early February on April 24 after laboratory test results pointed to Salmonella contamination in the manufacturing area and the raw material.
Amid the recall, the Ministry of Health has ordered the company to investigate the cause of the incident and to take corrective actions to prevent it from reoccurring in the future. Production at the manufacturing facility has also been paused, with the Ministry of Health suspending the plant's approval for three months. In a statement, Eyal Dror, CEO of Strauss Israel, said, "We will not take any risk regarding public health and due to the great confusion created among consumers, we decided...in cooperation and coordination with the food authority in the Ministry of Health to increase the cautious measures already taken and expand the product recall despite the fact that there is no evidence of Salmonella in these products."
A common foodborne illness, consumption of products contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis. Symptoms of salmonellosis – diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever – typically occur within 12 to 72 hours and can be serious and sometimes fatal. No illnesses have been reported in connection to the Strauss Israel recall, though consumers are being advised not to consume the recalled Elite brand products. The products should instead be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.