Hausmacher pate sold at Nova Scotia farmers’ markets recalled

Where I grew up (Port Hope, Ontario – that’s in Canada), there was a small tailgate farmers market Saturday mornings in the parking lot adjacent to Valu-Mart, but the real event was a trip to either the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto or the Peterborough market on Landsdowne St. Each of the big markets had butchers and I’d usually wrangle my mom into picking up a couple of pepperette sticks (kind of like an unpackaged Slim Jim).

I never really wondered whether the stuff was safe. I didn’t think a whole lot about food safety and regulation until years later. I figured that if someone could sell it, they must know what they are doing, and I didn’t have to worry about it. Food safety is all about trust, and I had lots of it.

I’m not a fan of wurst so I probably wouldn’t have been asking mom for anything like Webber Food’s Hausmacher liver pate, a product that CFIA recalled yesterday.1520738_246504328850770_597368632_n

Webbers Food is recalling “Hausmacher” liver pâté from the marketplace because it may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

The following product has been sold in glass jars with no label only from November 13, 2013 to December 5, 2013, inclusively, at the following locations in Nova Scotia:
Hammonds Plains Farmers’ Market, Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg Farmers’ Market, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

There’s not a whole lot of info in the recall notice so I went digging on the Webber’s Food Facebook page. Seems that the product has a water activity of .98 its pH is 6.4.

And the label that was missing was “keep refrigerated.”

Sealed jar, high pH and high aW and no refrigeration is a pretty good way to make botulinum toxin.

Webber Food’s explanation of the story (including a delay of 25 days between the test results and the recall) can be found here.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.