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Carob powder recalled for salmonella contamination

This carob powder, from a different source, is indistinguishable by appearance, smell or taste, from cocoa powder.
This carob powder, from a different source, is indistinguishable by appearance, smell or taste, from cocoa powder.VL Jackson

It’s certainly been a busy week for food product recalls—today there is an alert going out from the Food and Drug Administration concerning organic carob powder being sold by an online company named Earth Circle Organics. (From a newsletter article by the FDA: Earth Circle Organics Recalls Organic Carob Powder for Possible Salmonella Contaminationdated 07/23/2014 05:58 PM EDT)

The powder—mostly used by those who are allergic to chocolate, as a substitute—has been reported as possibly contaminated with salmonella bacteria. Salmonella, a common source of food poisoning, is potentially deadly, especially for those who have weak immune systems such as babies, the elderly, or those with chronic health conditions like HIV/AIDS, or cancer.

Earth Circle Organics (owned by River Canyon Retreat, Inc.) is a company that sells their wares via the internet to distributors such as amazon.com, Lucky Vitamin, Swanson Vitamins, and Vitacost, among others. The carob powder in question, for those who are unfamiliar with this item, is almost identical in appearance, smell and taste to cocoa powder. It is used in the same manner as cocoa, and is valued by anyone who is unable to use chocolate. Since many people put such powdered ingredients in their own containers at home, if you are uncertain whether the carob you have is contaminated, do not hesitate to discard it at once.

Salmonella symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes also fever. This, as in many cases, can be misdiagnosed by physicians and labeled flu. Anyone who is given anti-viral drugs, however, will not respond to this course of treatment. Please seek emergency help immediately if you have these symptoms. If you believe it may be from contaminated carob or other bacterialy-spoiled food, tell the ER staff from the start (or have someone tell them for you, as you may not be able to talk much) about the suspected source of your illness. Sometimes a person suffering from such a condition may be throwing up so violently, communication will be impossible. In many instances taking a sample of the food along is a help to hospital staff, especially when a food poisoning outbreak is occurring over a wide area.

Below is a reproduction of a chart (courtesy of the FDA alert) listing details describing the affected packages:

Product SKU

Lot #

UPC Code

Exp Date

CRBP16ow

3642; 3404; 3221; 3267

894932002283

6/5/2015

CRBP5lb

3405; 3262

894932002733

6/5/2015

CBP20lb

3487; 3387; 3292

813313011485

6/5/2015

CRBP55lb

201901; 196201; 194801; 188901; 0786

894932002740

6/5/2015

For more details of the product recall, see this link: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm406458.htm?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Consumers can also contact Earth Circle Organics directly for further information by calling 1-530-273-3663 X 216, Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Note: times given are Pacific; Earth Circle Organics is located in Grass Valley, CA.) To email the company, go to: recall@earthcircleorganics.com .