Oregon food bank recalls chia seeds due to mouse poop

Almost one in seven American households were food insecure in 2012, experiencing difficulty in providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources. Food pantries assist a food-insecure population through emergency food provision, but there is a paucity of information on the food safety–related operating procedures that pantries use.

That’s what my friend and former student Ashley Chaifetz wrote in 2015.

The same words are true now.

A few years ago an outbreak linked to a Denver homeless shelter made it into the barfblog new and notable category. Forty folks who depended on the emergency food were affected by violent foodborne illness symptoms after eating donated turkey. Fourteen ambulances showed up and took those most affected to area hospitals.

Last year, while speaking at the Rocky Mountain Food Safety Conference I met one of the EHS folks who conducted the investigation and temperature abuse of the turkey after cooking was identified as the likely contributing factor.

The very folks who need food the most were betrayed by the system they trust.

I can’t imagine how hard it is to be homeless or not have enough money to feed my family. Focusing on safe, nutritious food is moot if the money isn’t available to buy groceries. Or if there’s no home to take them too.

It really sucks when food bank food is recalled.

According to KGW8 News, The Oregon Food Bank of Portland is recalling more than 22,000 pounds of chia seeds over fears that they may contain rodent droppings.

The chia seeds were donated to the food bank and distributed in Oregon and Clark County, Washington between November 1, 2017 and March 9, 2018. They were distributed in one-pound plastic bags with twist-type closure or a re-sealable pouch.

Rat droppings found in Doritos in Canada?

Tammy McLachlan and her son Connor usually never think twice about putting their hands into a bag of chips but an incident on March 8 has changed that perception forever.

The Whitby (Ontario) mother said she and her son were watching television in the dark and sharing a bag of Doritos tortilla chips when they doritosnoticed something odd.

McLachlan said her son immediately ran into the bathroom and started to throw up.

“I threw up three times, it’s just disgusting. I kept thinking about it,” Connor said.

Due to the objects’ size, the McLachlan’s allege the substance were mouse droppings.

“Mouse poop. Just by looking at it, because it’s small. I’ve seen what mouse poop looks like, that was my first reaction,” she said.

The McLachlan’s wanted an explanation and telephoned PepsiCo Foods Canada, the owner of Frito Lay and the makers of Doritos, but say they didn’t receive a satisfactory response after failed attempts to email pictures of the alleged mouse droppings.

It was later revealed that the email address was incorrect and bounced back.

McLachlan contacted Global News over her concerns and the mystery substance was then sent to an independent lab at the University of Guelph for further forensic testing.

The examination was paid for by Global News.

After a week, the results revealed the bag’s leftover contents contained three “distinct types of foreign materials” including “rodent droppings, paper” and “larger lumps of dark material” appearing to be “burnt or overheated product.”

Animals hairs were also discovered under microscopic tests “that were consistent with rodent hairs.”

The final report also noted there was “no damage consistent with rodent chewing or tears” on the package itself.  The lab could not determine how the foreign materials got into the bag.  The McLachlan family insists they did not leave the chips unattended after opening the package.

When Global News contacted PepsiCo Foods Canada over the test results, the company did not ask for a copy but instead forwarded this written statement:

“We take our customers’ feedback, including complaints, seriously and we’re currently investigating the claim.”

“We have reached out to the CFIA and have reviewed our rigorous pest control protocols at the facility and are confident that they were in place and adequate. However, we cannot, nor can any packaged goods company, speak to what may happen to products that leave our facilities and our control. We haven’t received any other complaints of this nature and will continue to work with the customer to resolve the issue.”