Food Law News - UK - 1999

29 April 1999: HAZARD WARNING - Urgent Food Hazard Warning on Organic Valley Canned Vegetable Soup

DoH Press Release (1999/0267), 29 April 1999

Urgent Food Hazard Warning on Organic Valley Canned Vegetable Soup

Environmental Health Officers throughout the UK are today being asked to alert their local media and relevant local retail outlets that the heat processing of cans of Organic Valley Ltd vegetable soup was not properly controlled on two production dates - batch nos 2VS1 9074, 2VS2 9074 and 2VS1 9076.

As soon as the problem was discovered, the company alerted their local authority, North Hertfordshire District Council. Although there is no evidence of any botulinum spores in the affected batches, and no reports of illness, the company was concerned that the public should not be put at risk from any spores which might have survived the inadequate heat processing.

The affected batches are being withdrawn immediately from sale. Customers who have already purchased soup from the affected batches should return it to the retailer or direct to Organic Valley Ltd, Blackhorse Road, Letchworth, Herts, and a full refund will be given.

The Food Hazard Warning is as follows: URGENT - IMMEDIATE FOOD HAZARD WARNING


Introduction This food hazard warning requires immediate action by the local authorities listed below:

NB: This Food Hazard Warning is being sent to other local authorities for their information as Immediate Action may also be required by them if other outlets are identified.


The Department of Health has been notified that three batches of canned soup have been underprocessed. The three batches amount to approximately 6,000 cans. The risk assessment undertaken indicates the possibility of survival and growth of Cl. Botulinum. Immediate action is required by local authorities with outlets in their area to visit and ensure that affected products are immediately withdrawn from sale. The product affected by this food hazard warning is:

NB The Food Hazard Warning relates only to the batch numbers quoted. Other batches of this product are not affected.

The product is manufactured by: Organic Valley Ltd, Blackhorse Road, Letchworth, Herts.

Action to be taken by the Company - The Company have assured us that they have contacted their customers and requested that the affected codes be withdrawn.

Additional Information - No action required - The Company has also supplied this product to Tesco Stores Limited. Tesco have been advised centrally of this problem and have assured the Department of Health that the product has been withdrawn from sale from all their stores. No action is required by local authorities in respect of Tesco Stores.

Action by Department of Health - The Department are to issue a National Press Release to News Agencies later today. A copy of the Department Press Release will be sent to selected local authorities for information and to support local publicity. Action to be taken by local authorities
1. Visit and confirm that the product has been withdrawn from sale at the premises on the attached list.
2. Identify any other wholesale and retail outlets that may have received supplies of this product from the premises in your area. Identify the local authority in whose area these outlets are situated and immediately inform by telephone and confirm by fax the need for that authority to take the action identified above i.e. to visit immediately, confirm withdrawal of product and identify any further outlets. This may necessitate visits over the weekend and if necessary the use of the contact in the Directory of Environmental Health Departments - March 1999 (the green Book).
3. Confirm to DH action taken, the names and addresses of any further outlets and the further local authorities notified. (Information to the Department by fax to 0171 972 5148 or via EHCnet. Urgent requests to the Department for further information outside of normal hours (over the Bank Holiday Weekend) should be directed to the normal standby arrangements detailed in the Green Book and in the Supplement to Code of Practice 16 - Version published January 1999.)
4. To secure where possible local publicity to inform customers who have purchased suspect cans. Local authorities may use the DH Press Release as a basis for local publicity.

It is expected that action by local authorities will be initiated as soon as possible after receipt of this food hazard warning.

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