If you’re a fan of Trader Joe’s, you may have noticed that there have been several food recalls lately – five, in just four weeks.
It started on July 25th with Trader Joe’s Almond Windmill Cookies and dark chocolate chips and almond biscuits, too Fully cooked falafel three days later – all recalled because they may have contained stones. That was accompanied by Trader Joe’s Unexpected Broccoli Cheddar Soup, which was recalled for potentially containing insects. Recently, on August 17th, the retailer announced a recall Multigrain crackers with sunflower and linseed because they may contain metal.
The news is worrying, but how concerned should consumers be? That’s what experts say.
“It’s unusual for a retailer to have multiple recalls on private items back-to-back.” Mitzi treethe executive director of Stop Foodborne Illness, tells Yahoo Life.
In some cases, recalls may be involved. “Physical hazards, such as stones in multiple products, can come from an ingredient from the same supplier used in both products,” explains Baum.
However, in Trader Joe’s case, the recalls were probably unrelated, according to food safety expert Trevor Craig, director of technical training and consulting Microbac Laboratories. “These are unlikely to be related as they are all different products, issues and most likely manufacturers,” he told Yahoo Life.
He thinks it could be more of a bad luck for Trader Joe’s or an example of increased surveillance following a recall. “For example, they might have had a single recall and went through a lot of products to see that they weren’t having similar issues and found that they were, in fact,” says Craig. “Or maybe some consumers are reporting something through complaints and Trader Joe’s is just playing it safe.”
Should I be worried?
According to a registered dietitian, recalls are serious but not automatically dangerous Jamie Lee McIntyre. “In most cases, this is a precautionary measure to prevent possible harm to consumers,” she told Yahoo Life. “Companies often work closely with regulators to identify and address the root causes of recalls and implement corrective actions to prevent similar incidents in the future.”
tree agrees. “Although the thought of eating a bug is unattractive, it will not harm you,” she says. “The presence of bugs may arise if one of the ingredients — such as broccoli, which grows in the ground — contains unknown bugs.”
Craig isn’t particularly concerned about Trader Joe’s recalls either. “It appears none of these recalls are life-threatening, and I don’t see anyone reporting being sick or being hospitalized,” he notes. He says bigger concerns generally relate to recalls due to bacterial and chemical contamination, which are harder to detect and control.
What can I do?
Experts recommend keeping an eye out for recall notifications and learning what they mean.
The good news: Food recall alerts are relatively easy to obtain Thanks to technology. “Many companies offer memberships that notify customers when a product they’ve purchased is recalled,” says Craig.
McIntyre says consumers can also stay informed via Registration with the Food and Drug Administration to receive email alerts, subscribe to newsletters from consumer protection organizations and check recall sections of databases the FDA’s website.
If you’ve purchased recalled products, Craig recommends watching for developing symptoms. McIntyre agrees, saying: “If you do develop an illness, it is important that you contact your local health department and report your symptoms. This will help authorities track the impact of the recall and take the necessary action.”
Baum says medical attention is especially important when signs of food poisoning such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps and fever appear. “Specify that testing be done for the bacteria identified in the recall, and if you have any remaining product in your home, hold it for further testing,” she says.
If the food you have purchased has been recalled, McIntyre recommends the following: “Follow the instructions in the recall notice regarding the specific product, lot numbers and expiration date. You can then safely dispose of the product or return it to the store where it was purchased for credit or, in some cases, a refund.
The main snack
“There are food recalls,” says Craig. But consumers can protect themselves by paying attention to these recalls and throwing away the items. As Baum puts it, “Be an informed consumer.”
If a recalled product is consumed, experts recommend contacting your doctor and notifying the local health department.