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Darren Tobin
Darren Tobin
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Contaminated Applesauce Distributed to Nation's Schools

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The FDA is currently reviewing a Washington state fruit processor that supplies the nation’s schools and baby food maker for repackaging contaminated applesauce. The applesauce was contaminated with several kinds of potentially dangerous molds.

According to the MSNBC News, the FDA sent a warning letter to Snokist Growers of Yakima, Washington. The letter said that the FDA could not ensure the safety of moldy applesauce and fruit puree that was reconditioned for supply for human consumption. The letter was sent on October 20, 2011 and states, “Your firm processes moldy applesauce product… using a method that is not effective against all toxic metabolites. Several foodborne molds may be hazardous to human health.”

Snokist actually recalled several products earlier this year. The company was blamed for the sicknesses of nine North Carolina children who became ill after eating applesauce at their school. The recall included more than 3,300 cases in May. The company blamed the recall on faulty seals on the cans. These nine children have recovered since being infected by Snokist’s dangerous and contaminated food.

The FDA inspected Snokist in June. At the time, inspectors found large, laminated bags of fruit products that should have been sealed and sterile, but instead were torn open and tainted with mold. The mold was in different colors – black, blue-green, white and brown. In addition, inspectors smelled an unusually strong odor wafting out of the bags. Snokist failed to address these problems appropriately.

Sadly, there were at least eight other instances last year where Snokist reprocessed moldy applesauce into canned goods for distribution to allow human consumption.

A consultant’s report from 2009 showed that the mold types in the Snokist fruit products included Alternaria, two types of Pennicillium, and Fusarium, all of which can cause sickness in people. It was in 2010 when the consultant recommended that Snokist complete six steps to fix the problems seen and discovered in 2009. However, during the FDA’s June inspection, only two of those recommended six steps were implemented.

Snokist made about $53 million in 2010, which includes 3.3 million cases of processed fruit. The company has supplied applesauce to schools throughout the United States.

The Georgia Legislature has passed the Georgia Food Act, found in O.C.G.A. §§ 26-2-20- 26-2-41. This is a consumer protection statute as it helps protect consumers from mislabeled, misbranded foods as well as acts as a prevention tool to contaminated food production, sales, and distributions.

Here are some of the signs to look out for when your food may be contaminated:

  • Severe vomiting
  • Vision trouble
  • Speaking trouble
  • Breathing trouble
  • Muscle weakness
  • Swallowing trouble
  • Fever that is over 100 degrees F
  • Stomach pain
  • Dehydration

If you or a loved one has been severely injured due to a food contamination, negligent food preparation, or from a foodborne illness, you may want to contact our food injury attorneys to see how we can help protect your legal interests. Our lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and resources to help.