Over the last couple of weeks, there have been recalls on a wide assortment of food products for fear of salmonella contamination. The source of the contamination? Powdered milk products from Valley Milk Products LLC in Strasburg, VA. So far recalls have been issued for everything from macaroni and cheese and frozen cream puffs, to one of America’s most beloved snacks, the potato chip. In fact, one popular potato chip company, Bickel’s Snack Foods Inc. in York, PA, recently recalled seven brands of their potato chips over concern that they may have been contaminated with powdered milk ingredients supplied by Valley Milk Products LLC.
Just how did the recall come about, though? It started back on December 1, 2016 when the FDA instructed US Marshals to raid the Valley Milk plant where they subsequently seized 4 million pounds of powdered milk and buttermilk. Later it was found that the FDA had collected environmental swabs at the Valley Milk Products LLC production facility that turned up positive for salmonella. There were also records found at the production facility that revealed that the company had discovered salmonella not only in their facility but in many packaged products as well. As a result of these findings, Valley Milk Products LLC recalled 3.1 million pounds of powdered milk products that were either produced or sold between December of 2015 and July of 2016.
In the days that followed Valley Milk’s recall, more than 17 other companies followed suit and recalled their own products due to a potential salmonella contamination. Bickel’s Snack Foods Inc. was one of those companies. According to Bickel’s recall notice posted on the website of the FDA, “Bickel’s Snack Foods Inc. was notified that Valley Milk Products LLC initiated a recall of products made with milk products and sour cream.” Because of this, Bickel voluntarily chose to recall certain batches of their sour cream and onion potato chips, including the following brands:
- Bon Ton
- Dan Dee
- Key Foods
While it’s fortunate that no illnesses have been reported so far, it’s important for consumers to be aware of the risks associated with salmonella contamination. The first thing to be aware of is that salmonella-contaminated food rarely looks or smells spoiled. Also, the young, elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of getting sick than others. Symptoms range from fevers, headaches, vomiting, nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and can even cause severe arthritis. In rare cases, salmonella infections can enter the bloodstream, resulting in even more severe illnesses.
Because of all the risks associated to salmonella, consumers who have purchased potato chips from one of the recalled brands are advised to dispose of them immediately. The FDA also advises anyone who has consumed any contaminated products and is experiencing symptoms of a salmonella infection to seek medical attention as soon as possible.