Ingredient Used in Many Processed Foods Recalled

WASHINGTON (AP) - A wide range of processed foods - including
soups, snack foods, dips and dressings - is being recalled after
salmonella was discovered in a flavor-enhancing ingredient.
Food and Drug Administration officials said Thursday that the
ingredient, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, is used in thousands of
food products, though it was unclear how many of them will be
recalled. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention said no illnesses or deaths have been reported.
The officials said the recall, which dates to products
manufactured since Sept. 17, is expected to expand in the coming
days and weeks. It only involves hydrolyzed vegetable protein
manufactured by Las Vegas-based Basic Food Flavors Inc., which did
not return a call for comment Thursday.
The agency said Thursday it collected and analyzed samples at
the Las Vegas facility after one of the company's customers
discovered the salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and
sometimes fatal infections in young children and others with
weakened immune systems. The FDA then confirmed the presence of a
strain of salmonella in the company's processing equipment.
Jeffrey Farrar, associate commissioner for food protection at
the FDA, said Thursday that many products that contain the
ingredient are not dangerous because the risk of salmonella is
eliminated after the food has been cooked. Many of the foods
involved in the recall are ready-to-eat items that are not cooked
by the consumer.
"At this time we believe the risk to consumers is very low,"
Farrar said.
A list of more than 50 recalled foods on the FDA Web site
includes several dips manufactured by T. Marzetti, Sweet Maui Onion
potato chips manufactured by Tim's Cascade Snacks, Tortilla Soup
mix made by Homemade Gourmet and several prepackaged "Follow Your
Heart" tofu meals manufactured by Earth Island.
The FDA said the contamination was discovered by a new tracking
system implemented to improve tracing of foodborne illnesses.

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