US

53,000 Pounds of Meatballs Recalled Over Undeclared Allergens

By Zachary Stieber

More than 53,000 pounds of meatballs were recalled this week over misbranding and undeclared allergens.

Home Market Foods, based in Norwood, Massachusetts, recalled 53,217 pounds of frozen ready-to-eat beef and pork meatballs because they contained milk and wheat despite the known allergens not being on the labels.

The meatballs were labeled as “Homestyle Meatballs All Natural” products but may contain “Cranberry Stuffed Meatballs” products, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The meatballs were shipped to retail stores in the following states, FSIS said in an alert: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.

Someone bought the meatballs and noticed they were mislabeled. They called the authorities, prompting an investigation and the discovery of the mislabeling.

A picture shows a package of the “homestyle meatballs” that were mislabeled as not containing known allergens wheat and milk despite containing them, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. (FSIS)

“There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider,” FSIS stated.

“FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”

The health risk of the mislabeled products was “high,” authorities said in the alert. “This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences, or death,” FSIS stated.

The products were produced on April 2 and bear the establishment number “EST. 2727” inside the department of agriculture (USDA) mark of inspection.

The products were listed as: 48-oz. plastic bag packages of “COOKED PERFECT BRAND HOMESTYLE MEATBALLS All Natural” and Best If Used By 07/02/20.

People with questions can call Home Market Foods senior customer service manager Dawn Bourget at (781) 948-1559.

A picture shows the back of a package of the “all natural homestyle meatballs” that were mislabeled, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. (FSIS)
The nutrition facts section on a package of meatballs produced by Massachusetts-based Home Market Foods. More than 53,000 pounds of the meatballs were recalled over mislabeling. (FSIS)

Recalls

According to a report (pdf) published by the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service published in 2018, there were an average of 304 recalls between 2004 and 2008 and an average of 676 recalls between 2009 and 2013.

The following six food categories accounted for most of the recalls across those years: prepared foods and meals, 11.9 percent; nuts, seeds, and nut products, 10.9 percent; baked goods, 9 percent; grains and grain products, 8.4 percent; candy products, 7.9 percent, and sauces, condiments, and dressings, 5 percent.

(USDA Economic Research Service)
(USDA Economic Research Service)
(USDA Economic Research Service)
(USDA Economic Research Service)

The most common reason for each category except for nuts was failure to declare major allergens. The most common reason for nut recalls was possible Salmonella contamination. Overall, 41 percent of the recalls were the result of pathogen contamination, such as Salmonella or E. Coli, while 27.4 percent were the result of undeclared allergens.

The most significant recall event between 2004 and 2013 took place in January 2009. Peanut butter linked to a Salmonella outbreak was recalled. The outbreak was ultimately responsible for at least 714 illnesses and nine deaths, and led to the recall of a number of products containing peanut butter or peanut paste, including cookies, crackers, and cereal; overall, over 400 separate recalls occurred.