Local News

Inspectors Race to Pull Recalled Foods From Shelves

Posted August 6, 2007
Updated August 7, 2007

— State agricultural inspectors said they are running a race against time and disease to find canned food products that were recalled more than two weeks ago.

Inspectors are combing store shelves statewide for cans that may be contaminated with the bacteria that causes botulism, a muscle-paralyzing disease.

Castleberry’s Food Co. of Augusta, Ga., recalled more than 25 brands of chili, beef stew, corned beef hash and canned dog food in late July.

Federal authorities connected four cases of botulism in Indiana and Texas to the recalled food products.

The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently expanded inspections after visits to nearly 1,500 stores found Castleberry's products still on the shelves – more than a week after the recall.

In two days, officials removed 5,500 cans from slightly more than a third of the stores checked.

Since Aug. 2, inspectors visited more than 10,000 grocery and convenience stores across North Carolina and said they've continued to find and remove cans of recalled food.

"There are a lot of places to visit, and we just try to get as many as we can," said Janna Spruill, who has been inspecting stores in Raleigh.

The expanded search effort "gives us a good indication of where products are on the shelf and where we are having an effect," said Joseph Reardon, director of the department's Food and Drug Protection Division.

County health workers are assisting state employees to inspect smaller, local stores, Reardon said.

"We are relying on the counties that know the landscape, that know who the people are," Reardon said.

He's also looking for more help from above, too.

Reardon said he wants the state Legislature to help provide investigators with a list of possible Castleberry's distribution spots.

Without that list, investigators must assume that the tainted food could be anywhere, he said.

"We are going to analyze how we handle that better, what we may need out of the Legislature to put us in a position where we will know where those accounts are," Reardon said.


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  • richard2 Aug 7, 2007

    Our goverment is really looking out for us. Whats next with our food supply?

  • garnertoy Aug 7, 2007

    Every store suppose to have a list if items to pull. They should have already done this

  • packfansj3 Aug 7, 2007

    It is ridiculous that there is any of this product on the shelves of any store. There has been more than enough time for the retailers to pull the product. Those who have not pulled the product should be fined $100.00 per can. I bet they would comply then.

  • T-Man Aug 7, 2007

    Once again, I'm glad to be vegetarian! Health benefits, cost savings, and rare food recalls (Yes, I do remember the whole spinach episode last year), what other reason do you need?


  • Dr Holliday Aug 7, 2007

    Why doesn't the store owner pull the cans?

  • believer58 Aug 7, 2007

    Hope they are checking the Dollar Trees and like businesses that buy overstock.
    Then there are the salvage dealers who buy bulk damaged and/or out of code product from the bigger chains.
    Then there are the Food Banks where chains or individuals have made donations.
    Might want to check the Flea Markets where off the shelf consumer products are often sold.

    Not hard to have it removed from Food Lions, Harris Teeters, or Krogers, etc because they have all the safe guards in place to act swiftly whenever there is a recall.
    Beyond that...products are sold to distributors who resell it to other distributors who then resell it to who knows where.

    The Agriculture Dept has a pretty daunting task on this one.
    I can't begin to imagine how many Moms&Pops there are just in the eastern half of the state.

  • thefensk Aug 7, 2007

    In reality, it should be the distributors who really should KNOW what stores have the food. They should be either sending notice to pull the product immediately and return it, or they should be sending people out to stores that buy the recalled products from them and pulling the product themselves. The state should lean on the distributors. Granted, some smaller operations rely on places like Sam's and Costco, but they should be able to track sales by account as well.

    This should never be an end-of-the-line search, it should start at the manufacturing plant and the trail should then be followed down from the top.

  • talkabout Aug 7, 2007

    Canned meat?? Who eats this stuff?

  • PikeMom Aug 7, 2007

    Wonder why they didn't mention the recall on string beans.One sentence would have been enough.

  • skinnycow Aug 7, 2007

    This is why I dont buy canned meat. I hope no one gets sick over this. I know it has got to be a headache to go thru and make sure all of those cans are pulled from the shelf. It is scary to know that they may not be able to pull it all from the shelf b/c of the various locations it could be at. Praying for all that purchased any of these items to dispose of it before it is eaten.