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Spaghettios, frozen dinners pulled from shelves
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two popular grocery items are being pulled off the shelves — Spaghettios that weren’t adequately heated during processing, and Marie Callender frozen dinners that pose a salmonella risk.
The Department of Agriculture announced both recalls late Thursday. ConAgra Foods is recalling all Marie Callender’s brand cheesy chicken and rice frozen meals after they were possibly linked to a salmonella outbreak in 14 states.
And Campbell Soups Co. is recalling 15 million pounds of Spaghettios with meatballs after a cooker malfunctioned at one of the company’s plants in Texas.
ConAgra said it was recalling the Marie Callender’s meals after it was informed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of a possible link between the meals and 29 illnesses. Eight of those sickened reported eating the product in April or May.
The company is recalling all of the meals, which are labeled “Marie Callender’s Cheesy Chicken and Rice White Meat Chicken and Broccoli over Rice Topped with Rich Cheddar Sauce,” regardless of production date. It was distributed to retail outlets nationwide.
The most common symptoms of salmonella are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight hours to 72 hours of eating a contaminated product. It can be life-threatening, especially to those with weakened immune systems.
ConAgra was linked to two other high-profile recalls in 2007. That year the company’s Banquet pot pies were linked to 401 cases of salmonella in 41 states and its Peter Pan brand peanut butter was linked to at least 625 salmonella cases in 47 states.
There have been no illnesses related to consumption of the Spaghettios, but Campbell spokesman Anthony Sanzio said the company is recalling certain lots of the product manufactured since December 2008 “out of an abundance of caution” because officials don’t know exactly when a cooker at the Paris, Texas, plant malfunctioned.
Because the cans were not sufficiently heated, Mr. Sanzio said, they could be ripe for bacterial growth and the product could spoil before its use-by date.
Mr. Sanzio said the company believes the cooker malfunctioned recently but that officials are not certain. He said there are likely about 35,000 cases of Spaghettios subject to the recall on the market right now, but USDA announced the recall of 15 million pounds because that is all of the product that has been manufactured since December 2008. Much of it has likely been consumed.
Recalled are certain lots of three varieties of the pasta product often consumed by children: Spaghettios with Meatballs, Spaghettios A to Z with Meatballs, and Spaghettios Fun Shapes with Meatballs (Cars).
The recalled products have “EST 4K,” as well as a use-by date between June 2010 and December 2011 printed on the bottom of the can. The products were manufactured between December 2008 and June 2010 and distributed to retail establishments nationwide.
Mr. Sanzio said the company has received no customer complaints to date.
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