Pizza Sauce Sparks Recall

If pizza is on this week's dinner menu, you may need to make a last-minute trip to the grocery store. Consumers are being advised against eating RTE pasta sauce items labeled as pizza sauce after the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert for the products on Feb. 23. The alert was issued due to undeclared ingredients, including anchovies and milk, known allergens, as well as ground beef and sulfites.

The health alert, which the FSIS noted is not a recall as the products are no longer available for purchase, affects RTE pasta sauce items that were sold in 16-ounce tubs with "NEW SEASONS BRIGHT & FLAVORFUL HOMESTYLE PIZZA SAUCE with slow-simmered plum tomatoes" on the label. This sauce on produced on January 25, 2023, and features a best-if-used-by date of "3/26/23." The affected products, which were shipped to retail locations in Oregon and Washington, do not bear a USDA establishment number or mark of inspection. An image of the label is available here.

Per the FSIS, the public health alert was issued after the company "received a consumer complaint that meat was in the pizza sauce and notified FSIS." It was later determined that employees "labeled a limited number of "'Bolognese Pasta Sauce' packages as 'Homestyle Pizza Sauce.'" This resulted in a product containing anchovies, milk, ground beef, and sulfites to be packaged with a label that did not declare those ingredients, which are known allergens. Consumption of these products could lead to an allergic reaction in some consumers. Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction can occur a few minutes to a few hours after consumption of an ingredient and may range from mild to severe. Symptoms may include wheezing, vomiting, hives, and digestive problems. In some instances, consumption of these ingredients can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that narrows the airways and can block breathing. According to the Mayo Clinic, "milk is the third most common food – after peanuts and tree nuts – to cause anaphylaxis."

Although these sauces are no longer available for purchase, the FSIS said there is concern that the product may be in consumers' refrigerators. Consumers who purchased the pasta sauce currently subject to the public health alert are advised not to consume them. Instead, these products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.