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February 16, 2007 — /FDA News/ — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to use certain jars of Earth’s Best Organic 2 Apple Peach Barley Wholesome Breakfast baby food because of the risk of contamination with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause botulism, a life-threatening illness or death. Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled.
The affected product was sold in single individual jars and in variety packs (which contains 4 jars of the apple peach barley in the pack along with other varieties). The food is part of the firm’s “2nd Vegetables, Fruits and Blends” line intended for babies 6 months and older. The food was distributed through retail stores and sold through the Earth’s Best website. If consumers have any of the specified jars in their home, they should not use it and destroy it immediately. No illnesses have been reported to FDA or the manufacturer to date in connection with this problem.
The affected baby food is as follows: (see figure)
Botulism, a potentially fatal form of food poisoning, usually causes illness within 18-36 hours of exposure. Initial indication of illness in infants is decreased frequency or absence of stools. Other signs and symptoms noted are poor feeding, weak suck, lethargy, listlessness, weak cry, decreased body tone, and diminished overall movement. Difficulty with swallowing may be evident as secretions drooling from the mouth. This may be followed by decreased respiratory effort which may lead to respiratory arrest from airway occlusion from unswallowed secretions. Older populations who may be consuming the product as part of a pureed diet might experience symptoms such as blurred vision, dizziness, dry mouth, and progressive weakness from head to legs. Constipation and urinary retention are also common. Caregivers or people observing these problems should seek immediate medical attention for those affected.
Hain Celestial Group initiated a recall of the food on February 9th. The recall is ongoing. Production and distribution of the product has been suspended as FDA and the company work to determine the source of the problem. Hain Celestial Group distributed 4,072 cases of the specified individual jars consisting of 24 jars per case and 38,298 variety packs with the specified jars.
Consumers who have questions should contact Hain Celestial Group at 1-800-434-4246.