By JANE LERNER
THE JOURNAL NEWS
Golden Taste of Spring Valley has issued several recalls of its products lately
Thursday: Baked salmon salad in 3.5-ounce, 7.5-ounce and 5-pound plastic containers. The salad had an expiration date of Aug. 11.
June 28: 3.5-ounce, 7.5-ounce and 5-pound plastic containers of tuna deluxe, with expiration dates of July 24 and Aug. 1; scallion tuna deluxe with expiration dates of July 5 and July 12; and whitefish salad with an expiration date of July 14.
June 10: Tuna deluxe in 3.5-ounce and 7.5-ounce clear plastic containers with expiration dates of July 3.
People who bought any of the recalled products should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Consumers with questions may call the company at 845-356-4133.
(Original publication: July 9, 2005)
A Spring Valley food manufacturer warned consumers three times in the past month not to eat some varieties of its salads because they were contaminated with a potentially deadly bacteria, according to state records.
Golden Taste issued the recalls after tests done by state officials showed the presence of listeria in its baked salmon salad, tuna deluxe, scallion tuna deluxe and whitefish salad. The recalls were issued Thursday, June 28 and June 11.
The same company recalled some salads in October 2004 and in January 2000 after state tests revealed the same bacteria, which can cause pregnant women to suffer miscarriage or premature labor and can make the elderly, children and people with compromised immune systems very sick. In healthy people, it can cause flu-like symptoms, including muscle aches, fever, nausea and diarrhea.
Golden Taste, located at 45 S. Central Ave., failed a sanitary inspection performed Thursday by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, spokeswoman Jessica A. Chittenden said yesterday.
The company had been fined $3,900 for numerous sanitary violations cited during two June inspections, she said.
The department is awaiting the inspectors’ final report before taking additional action against Golden Taste, Chittenden said.
“There are some serious problems there,” she said. “Action will be taken.”
Rafael Perl, manager of the food-processing plant, said yesterday that tests done by a laboratory that the company had hired did not show the presence of listeria.
The company has hired a food consultant to try to solve the problem, he said. Golden Taste is sanitizing the entire plant to make sure it is free of listeria, Perl said.
“We’re very concerned about it,” he said.
The Rockland Health Department has no jurisdiction over the business because it is considered a food manufacturer, not a restaurant. Consumer groups say that any food manufacturer with a history of so many recalls needs to be investigated.
“How come no one is shutting them down, even temporarily?” said Barbara Kowalcyk of Safe Tables Our Priority, a nonprofit organization that lobbies on behalf of people who have gotten sick from food-borne illnesses.
There is no central agency in charge of food safety nationwide, said Kowalcyk, a Wisconsin resident whose 2 1/2-year-old son died after contracting E. coli bacteria from contaminated meat.
“We have a very fractured food safety system that allows companies to fall through the cracks,” she said. “Ultimately, it’s the consumer who pays the price.”
John Pecoraro, a former Congers resident, knows how deadly listeria can be. His daughter, Isabella Rose, contracted listeriosis in utero after her mother ate food contaminated with the bacteria at a salad bar in Jersey City, N.J.
The baby was born prematurely at Nyack Hospital in May 2002 and died one week later.
“Listeria took the life of my daughter,” Pecoraro said. “It’s deadly.”
Dr. Joan Facelle, Rockland commissioner of health, said her department was aware of the recalls. No suspected cases of listeria infection have been reported, she said.
Golden Taste makes about 50 products, according to kosher certificates listed online by OK Kosher Certification, a Brooklyn firm that helps enforce and monitor Jewish dietary laws.
The company’s products are distributed to stores throughout New York and New Jersey.