Following the Unilever Israel breakfast cereals contamination scandal, it was revealed that a number of companies are conducting major recalls following suspicions that salmonella was present in the Prince Tahina ingredient used in a number of brands, and also marketed directly to consumers.
The recall includes all the hummus products of the Shufersal Ltd. (TASE:SAE), Yesh, Shamir, Asli, Hamutag, Delicatessen, Salatei Habayit, Yohananoff, and Picnic brands with sale dates between September 1 and September 18, 2016. Thousands of these products have already been sent to market. Consumers are being asked to refrain from using these products, which are being collected from the shelves today.
Following a report yesterday by Prince Tahina that two of the brands had notified it that the presence of salmonellas in its product was suspected, Shamir Salads made a public announcement today. Shamir Salads emphasizes that no bacteria were found in its test, but it is carrying out a recall nevertheless as a currently necessary measure. The company stresses that Shamir Salads products that do not contain hummus or tehina are approved for use. In addition, hummus and/or and tehina products with sell-by dates other than those in the recall timespan are also approved for use. Products included in the recall that have not yet been sent to stores will be destroyed.
Shufersal followed Shamir Salads' announcement a few hours later with its own announcement calling on the public to return the following private brand products containing hummus, tehina, and eggplants:
All Shufersal/Yes brand hummus products with a sell-by date from September 1 until September 18, 2016;
All Shufersal/Yes brand tehina products with a sell-by date from September 16 until October 3, 2016;
All Shufersal/Yes brand eggplant products with a sell-by date from September 1 until September 18, 2016.
Shufersal emphasized that its Shufersal private brand products were being tested regularly, and were marketed only after proper results were obtained from a testing laboratory. "We use extreme caution out of supreme concern for our customers' health, and have therefore decided to collect these products," the supermarket chain stated.
Almost two hours after the announcement by Shamir Salads, Prince Tahina issued its own announcement: "The company produces a range of tehina products, including tehina for industrial customers. All the company's products were issued with analyses, and found to be good. Suspected salmonella was discovered in a delivery to a Shamir Salads customer. In coordination with the Ministry of Health, it was decided yesterday to act with extra caution as part of concern for the company's customers and consumers.
"A malfunction was found only in tests conducted on the production line for one-ton packages for industrial customers. The malfunction was corrected and reported to the customers and the Ministry of Health. The company's other products, 0.5-kilo and one-kilo containers were found to be completely sound." The company's announcement continued, "Prince Tahina takes full responsibility for the malfunction, and is acting for full transparency towards the customers, the consumers, and the Ministry of Heath."
There is no doubt that after the Unilever affair, companies and the Ministry of Health are exercising extreme caution. In its announcement today, Shamir Salads emphasized that the presence of the bacteria for which the recall was being conducted had been detected yesterday. Shortly after that company announcement, the Ministry of Health issued its own announcement. The company stated, "Shamir Salads wishes to inform its customers that following yesterday's announcement by tehina supplier Prince Tahina concerning contamination by salmonella bacteria of the raw material supplied to us, we are putting into effect the recall procedure for these products. Following this announcement by Prince Tahina, and in coordination with parties in the Ministry of Health and the national foods services, company management has decided to implement the recall procedure for all the products for which this raw material was produced."
Another announcement by the Ministry of Health stated "Inspectors visited the Prince Tahina plant, following suspicions of salmonella in the plant. Initial test findings show that a malfunction was detected only in the production line for industrial filling. 200 tons of raw tehina was held up at the plant and marked for destruction. The plant notified its customers of the suspicion concerning the material supplied. The testing process by our ministry has not yet been completed."
Shamir Salads said in response, "It should be noted that under the testing procedures for receiving products used by Shamir Salads, and according to the announcement by Prince Tahina, the raw material was received at the plant with proper external laboratory results, including tests for salmonella. Nevertheless, following the announcement by Prince Tahina, we decided to recall all the products made with this tehina, although no signs of salmonella were found in those of the products that we tested. We are acting in coordination and full cooperation with the Ministry of Health in dealing with the event."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 11, 2016
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