FDA Recalls Over 100 Kosher Candy and Chocolate Products Due to Salmonella Risk
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a voluntary recall of 101 products made by Strauss Israel, due to the fact that the affected items may potentially be contaminated with Salmonella. The recall includes Strauss' Elite-branded products, including Elite chocolate, cakes, chewing gum, energy chocolate rice cakes, energy grain snacks, and wafers.
The Elite products, which are manufactured in Israel, have been distributed to retailers in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, and New York. The kosher chocolates have also been sold online through Amazon, Fresh Direct, Passover.com, and other online retailers. A full list of the products included in the recall can be found on the FDA's website.
According to the FDA, the affected chocolates and candies were made in a facility where Salmonella was found in both the liquid chocolate used in the products, and on equipment in the production line. Any retailer who stocks the products has been asked to remove them from sale, and customers who have purchased them can return them for a full refund. In addition to the 101 products that were pulled from U.S. shelves, Canada's Food Inspection Agency (CIFA) has identified 97 potentially affected products that are available in the Canadian market.
"[W]e decided to act fully responsibly, not to take any risks and remove all the factory products from the shelves," the Strauss Group posted on its Facebook page. "We apologize to the Israeli public, customers, and retailers for the difficulty, and thank you for your patience. [We] are aware of the long waiting times in customer service, and promise that we will get back to all inquiries."
Reuters reports that the recall originally included "more than a dozen types of chocolate and chocolate used as raw materials," before being expanded to the Elite-brand products as well. When Strauss tested samples from its factory, two out of 270 chocolate products had "an initial suspicion" of salmonella. The company's factory has since temporarily stopped production.
The FDA states that no illnesses connected to the recall have been reported in the United States. In Israel, 21 people who ate the affected products reported symptoms consistent with salmonella, and the country's Health Ministry has taken samples from those individuals.
According to the Times of Israel, Strauss has a presence in 20 countries worldwide, including its brands, partnerships and subsidiaries. In the U.S., Strauss and PepsiCo co-own and produce Sabra-brand dips and spreads. (No Sabra-brand products are at all connected to this recall, which the Times says may be the biggest in Israel's history.) "We will study and learn from the incident, change and improve the testing system and return to production only when we know that the factory and production lines are in order and the products are safe," the company said in a statement.