We’ve read a lot about listeria and salmonella outbreaks and their related recalls lately, and now it seems that lead poisoning has joined the fray. In Dearborn Heights, Michigan, Aroma Imports Inc. has issued a recall of their “450 g and 4.5 kg packages of Nabelsi brand Thyme” due to excessive levels of lead. How was this problem discovered? Well, the potential issue was discovered when the FDA, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Environmental Health Protection collected samples of the product and found that it contained high levels of lead, measuring at 422 PPM.
In terms of lead levels in food products, 422 PPM is a high number. According to Food Safety News, “based on the product’s 30 g serving size, the calculated lead result is 12,660 µg per serving.” To put things into perspective, the levels found in the sample far “exceeds the daily limit guidelines of 6 µg per day for children, the 25 µg per day for pregnant women, and the 75 µg per day for other adults.”
So far, the recall is only for two package sizes of the Nabelsi brand thyme distributed between November 2016 and February 2017 to “retailers, food service establishments, and wholesalers in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey and Virginia.” Wondering if you have one of the recalled products? According to Food Safety News, “The 450 g size is packaged in a mostly green foil/mylar bag that is not transparent on either side,” and the UPC is 4670000205314. “The 4.5 kg size packaging is a silver foil/mylar bag,” and the UPC is 6670000205374. Additionally, the production date that customers should look for is 08/20/2016 with an expiration date of 08/20/2018. Both of these dates can be found “on the back lower left corner of the 450 g package and back lower right of the 4.5 kg package.”
But what are the dangers of lead exposure? Is it really that big of a deal? Simply put, yes. Lead exposure can be very dangerous, and can actually accumulate in the body over time. Over time, lead exposure can “cause damage to the nervous system and internal organs,” while acute lead poisoning “may cause a wide range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and bloody or decreased urinary output.” Everyone is susceptible to lead poisoning, but children are especially vulnerable.
Fortunately, there have only been two cases of lead exposure related to the Aroma Imports Inc. thyme, and hopefully, with the recall, there won’t be anymore.