Weis Markets announced on November 23rd that they are recalling over one hundred containers of Weis Quality Sea Salt Caramel Ripple Ice Cream due to undeclared soy and coconut allergens.
A press release from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirms that Weis Markets issued a recall for 108 sqround containers of Weis brand ice cream previously distributed to 197 Weis Market stores across 7 states, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and West Virginia.
The FDA advises people with soy or coconut allergies to avoid consuming the product, as doing so could lead to “serious or life-threatening allergic reactions.” As of yet, the FDA has received no reports of illness due to the error.
The recall was sent after a discovery that the product containing soy and coconut was distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of the allergens. Later investigations identified the problem was caused by a “temporary breakdown in the company’s production and packaging process.”
Weis Markets and the FDA both recommend customers dispose of the product, either throwing it away or returning it for a refund.
Those concerned about a growing number of recalls this year should put their minds at ease, as the sheer number of reports is not indicative of the declining quality of food safety but rather increased FDA monitoring.
Food is often recalled by the department “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the FDA, making food recalls less and less likely to harm consumers.
The food safety publication “Eat This, Not That” reports that new investigation tools and laws introduced as recently as a decade ago allow more regulation by the FDA, thereby contributing to record-high instances of recalls. By enacting the Food Safety and Moderation Act in 2011, the FDA provided new guidelines that granted the department more power to prevent food safety issues. These guidelines include enhancing produce safety rules, more frequent FDA facility inspections, and the power to issue mandatory recalls if the company is deemed unsafe, among other measures.
Additionally, new technology allows the FDA, US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to test food using whole genome sequencing, which can help discover the source of pathogenic microorganisms faster than before.
Furthermore, the advent of social media has assisted in the rapid spread of recall information, making people browsing the internet more aware of them and at a far quicker pace than in earlier years.
Because of the guidelines in place, the risk of food safety issues during recalls is minimal, and Weis Market customers may soon enjoy their Sea Salt Caramel Ripple again, once the recall is lifted.