The food giant raised the alarm late last week as it issued a statement through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) warning the public not to eat Heinz Mixed Cereals that could be tainted with Ochratoxin A (OTA). The company said no other products or cereal varieties were affected.
Heinz, based in North York, Ontario, said the affected products were Mixed Baby Cereal, Stage 2, 227g packs for infants aged over six months, with best before dates of 26 and 29 December 2010. The products have a UPC 0 57000 02516 8 and product code of BB/MA 10 DE 26 and BB/MA 10 DE 29.
The firm said there had been no reported illness associated with consumption of the baby cereal as it issued the voluntary recall.
“Heinz Canada is taking immediate action to ensure that any affected product is removed from store shelves,” said a company statement. “We recommend that consumers discard the affected product and contact Heinz for a full refund.”
Ochratoxin A is a mycotoxin produced by some fungi that can grow in certain food crops such as grains, grapes and coffee beans. Ochratoxin A has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a possible human carcinogen. It is one of the most common food-contaminating mycotoxins.
No short-term health risk
The CFIA said the named Heinz products should not be consumed but that if children had eaten the cereal no further action was necessary as “even the highest levels of ochratoxin A found in these products are not high enough to pose a health risk when consumed as part of a normal diet over the short term”.
A Heinz spokeswoman told FoodProductionDaily.com that the contamination had not occurred at its Leamington plant as OTA occurs at field level and not during production or processing.
“All Heinz products undergo a rigorous ingredient and finished product testing program and only a small number of packages of one specific variety produced on two days was affected”, she added.