Bacon jam recalled in Alberta due to Clostridium botulinum risk

Bacon jam (a Canadian phenomenon) hasn’t had a good year. A version of the spreadable meat was the source of an outbreak of Staphylococcus aureus affecting over 200 people at Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition in August. The jam, with a pH of 5.8 and water activity of 0.97, was stored unrefrigerated and served to fair goers on cronut hamburgers.bacon-spread-recall

A similar jam produced by Kitchen by Brad Smoliak has been recalled in Alberta after Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials said that the product could permit the growth (and subsequent toxin formation) of Clostridium botulinum.

Recalled products
Brand Name: Kitchen by Brad Smoliak
Common Name: Bacon by brad smoliak
Size: 125 g or 125 ml
Code(s) on Product: Best Before 14 MA 14 and 14 JL 14

This recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) test results. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation into other production codes, which may lead to the recall of other products. There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Kitchen by Brad Smoliak, practicing good communication has the following on their website:

I learned today that certain batches of my Bacon Jam, or Bacon by Brad Smoliak, product may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum, or the bacteria that can cause botulism.
I deeply regret the concern and uncertainty this may cause you. I am a chef that lives in a culture of food safety. I have an unwavering commitment to keeping your food safe with standards that go beyond regulatory requirements. I acknowledge that my best efforts failed and I am sorry.

The same day we learned of this possibility, we worked with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to execute a full recall of the product. There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. The recall does not include any other Kitchen by Brad food product. The affected product was made in an off-site manufacturing facility and not at Kitchen.

I understand that your confidence in my products may be shaken, but I commit to you that my actions today and in the future will always be guided by putting your interests first.

From Smoliak’s comments it sounds like a copacker was used for this product. Practicing good communication is fine but choosing a service provider who can identify hazards and actually employ correct control measures for each recipe is a smart business decision.

Best-before labeling done right

There are lots of stories about best-before and use-by labels being altered at retail to sell shoddy goods to unsuspecting consumers.

But this is a note about labeling gone right.

Grocery shopping in Australia is not that much different from other countries in that prices can vary widely from store-to-store, week-to-week. Wherever I live, I soon develop a shopping ritual based on availability, price and quality.

In the Brisbane suburb of Annerley, I’ve discovered consistent bargains and quality produce at the Mother of all Fruits, which is affiliated with the Dutch-based retailer, Spar.

While stocking up on strawberries and asparagus (it is spring here), an employee with a black marker was reducing the price of bacon because the use-by date had been reached: as I picked up a couple of packages, she even told me, “Use by today.”

BLTs for lunch, buttermilk whole-wheat pancakes and bacon for dinner.

Eau de bacon

The essence of bacon – in a spray?

Ninety years ago, Parisian butcher John Fargginay accidentally came across an aroma. After mixing a top secret recipe of eleven different pure essential oils with the essence of bacon, he was able to create a scent that would, “dramatically elevate his customers’ mood.” It was then when Fargginay invented bacon cologne.

The makers of this fragrance maintain that it is a sophisticated product, which can be found at “high quality retailers across the planet.”

The Fargginay company has produced two distinct bacon fragrances, Bacon Gold and Bacon Classic — Gold having “spicy maple aroma” and Classic having “sizzling citrus” notes. A bottle of either could be yours for only $36 direct from their website.

The fragrance does not actually make you smell like you just bathed in a frying pan. They explain that, “these are sophisticated aromas, comprised of essential oils, flowers, herbs and the essence of bacon.”

UK bacon producer fined 18,000 for illegally selling hams

When food safety types arrived for a routine inspection at a bacon producer on Dec. 17, 2009, they found the company had started cooking and selling hams at the premises.

The Wiltshire Gazete and Herald reports a subsequent inspection of the ham production area found problems with cleaning and food safety management, including structural defects and poorly maintained equipment.

Remedial Action Notices were served requiring them to stop the production and sale of cooked meats at the premises. The company, Sandridge Farmhouse Bacon Ltd in Bromham, agreed to voluntarily surrender all the hams on site because they had not been produced in accordance with the relevant food safety legislation.

Sandridge Farmhouse Bacon Ltd and the managing director, Roger Keen, pleaded guilty to all seven charges brought by Wiltshire Council, which were:

Failure to ensure the council had up-to-date information about the business and its operations
Failure to have in place a food safety management system
Failure to ensure the design and construction of the premises helped protect against the formation of condensation and mould on surfaces
Failure to ensure the premises was kept clean and maintained in good repair and condition
Three counts of failing to ensure that surfaces (including the surfaces of equipment) in areas where foods were handled were in a sound condition and easy to clean and disinfect.

In addition to the fine, Mr Keen and Sandridge Farmhouse Bacon Ltd were ordered to pay costs of £1,000 and a £15 victim surcharge – for a total of £18,000.

Councillor Keith Humphries, Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said,

“This was a deliberate attempt by the business to supply food for the festive season which was produced in unsatisfactory conditions. I commend the food safety officers for their prompt action in removing the food from sale and safeguarding public health.”

Since the inspection last December standards at the premises have greatly improved and they are now able to resume ham production.