'Natural' & Organic Foods 8 Times More Likely to Have Safety and Recall Problems, Review by Food Policy Think Tank Finds
 

WASHINGTON, June 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Organic and "all natural" products are revealed to be eight times more likely to be recalled for safety related problems than conventional products, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) and Health Canada records.

A nine-month review by the non-profit Center for Global Food Issues of monthly food and supplement product recalls reported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Food Inspection Agency of Health Canada show products marketed as organic or "all natural" have significantly higher recall and warning rates than conventional foods. Reasons for recalls and warnings included failing to label products with potentially dangerous allergenic ingredients, mislabeled products, bacterial contamination and other serious safety-related concerns.

"An $8 billion-plus industry in North America, organic products still represent less than one percent of the total marketplace, yet they accounted for more than 8 percent of all recalls," noted Alex Avery, research director for the Center for Global Food Issues. "This suggests that consumers have an eight-fold higher risk factor for safety-related recalls when they purchase higher-priced organic products over less costly conventional products."

Some retailers, like Whole Foods Markets have multiple violations for the same products and violations. While urging consumers to be aware of food recalls, the Center reminds consumers that the U.S. and Canadian conventional food supplies are the safest in the world. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported in February a substantial and sustained decline over the past five years in the number of illnesses caused by major food borne pathogens due to the strength of existing food safety regulations.

--- The following is a list of the number of organic or "100 percent natural" food product warnings for the given month/year, listing both totals and percentages.

Number of organic or "100 percent natural" Month/Year......food product warnings....Pct of total warnings

April 2002...........3 out of 34.........9 percent March 2002...........8 out of 37........22 percent February 2002........1 out of 46.........2 percent January 2002.........4 out of 61.........7 percent December 2001........3 out of 51.........6 percent November 2001........2 out of 37.........5 percent October 2001.........5 out of 53.........9 percent September 2001.......2 out of 31.........6 percent August 2001..........5 out of 42........13 percent

TOTALS..............33 out of 392......8.4 percent

--- Following is a list of recalled products, the reason for the recall, and the date of notice:

Whole Foods Crunchy Organic Peanut Butter; "Jars labeled as Crunchy Peanut Butter actually contain Crunchy Almond Butter"; April 4, 2002

Mayer Brothers 100 percent Natural Apple Cider; "Product contained undeclared potassium sorbate."; April 17, 2002

Fuji Natural Foods alfalfa sprouts; "The product may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria."; April 18, 2001

Mrs. Denson's brand Organic Chocolate Chip; "Cookies contained undeclared milk proteins."; March 15, 2002

Born Free Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies; "May contain undeclared peanuts."; March 26, 2002

Rapunzel Pure Organic products (various); "May contain traces of traces of nut and milk."; March 29, 2002

Potsie's Organic Food products (various); "May contain hazelnut which is not declared on the label; March 28, 2002

Pronatec Organic Chocolates; "May contain milk and hazelnut proteins which are not declared on the label."; March 20, 2002

Klein's Naturals Fruity Deluxe; "Product contains undeclared sulfites. People who have severe sensitivity to sulfites run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product."; March 18, 2002

Sunfresh Organic Snack Bars; "May contain undeclared peanut or sulphites."; March 20, 2002

Kawa Organic Bars; "May contain sulphites which are not declared on the label"; March 20, 2002

Robert's American Gourmet Fruity Booty with Papaya and Mango, Puffed Rice and Corn!, (organic) & Robert's American Gourmet Veggie Booty with concentrated Spinach & Kale, Puffed Rice and Corn! (organic); "The products' nutrition facts panel contained incorrect values."; March 29, 2002

Zorba Natural Pepperoncini Mild Pickled Peppers Sulfite Free; "Product contains undeclared sulfites."; February 27, 2002

Woodstock Farms Pineapple Rings, United Natural Foods natural and organic foods; "The product contained undeclared sulfites."; January 30, 2002

Trader Joe's brand Multi Seed bread; "Breads contain undeclared eggs."; January 17, 2002

Solgar vitamins and natural herb digestive aids; "Salmonella contamination"; January 17, 2002

Bug Bites brand organic, dairy-free chocolate; "contains milk protein which is not declared on the label"; January 29, 2002

Melissa's World Organic Produce Crystallized Ginger; "Contains undeclared sulfites. People who have allergies or a severe sensitivity to sulfites run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products."; December 6, 2001

Whole Foods Brand Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter; "The product contains almond butter instead of peanut butter. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to almonds, may run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product."; December 21, 2001

Mistic Brands all natural clear sparkling sodas; "They have the potential to be contaminated with ammonia. At elevated concentrations, ammonia causes a burning sensation in the throat and gastritis. Ingestion of large doses of ammonia could also lead to nausea, vomiting, thirst, headache and acidosis."; December 21, 2001

Zorba Natural Pepperoncini Mild Pickled Peppers Sulfite Free; "Product contains undeclared sulfites."; November 23, 2001

Health from the Sun Flax Liquid Gold Ocia Certified Organic Cold-Pressed Flax Oil; "Product may contain water instead of the labeled oil." Nice, $9.98 for 16 oz of water.; November 15, 2001

Eclectic Institute Organic Opti Gest 1 A Dietary Supplement; Recalled due to Salmonella contamination; October 21, 2001

Beechnut Naturals 100 percent Mixed Fruit Juice, organic; Mold in product; October 5, 2001

Healthy Times brand of Cabana Banana organic baby food; "May be contaminated with glass."; October 11, 2001

Gardenburger 100 percent natural meatless chicken patty; "Product contained undeclared sulfites. Involves a health hazard situation where there is reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."; October 5, 2001

Trader Joe's brand Multi Seed bread; "Breads contain undeclared eggs."; October 30, 2001

BUMBLE BAR ORGANIC ENERGY Chocolate Crisp; "Involves a potential health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product."; September 20, 2001

Lightlife 100 percent Natural Smart Cutlets with organic ingredients; The product contains undeclared sulfites, and people who are sensitive to sulfites run the risk of serious or life-threatening reaction if they consume this product.; August 27, 2001

Gardenburger 100 percent natural Chik'n Grill patty; "Product contained undeclared sulfites. Involves a health hazard situation where there is reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."; August 9, 2001

Pacific BioLogic organic herbs Akebia Trifoliata Caulis (Mu Tong) and Asarum Sieboldii Herba cum Radix (Xi Xin); "Contains aristolochic acid. Aristolochic acid is a potent carcinogen and nephrotoxin found in certain plants and botanicals. This chemical can cause serious kidney damage and the use of products that contain aristolochic acid has been associated with several occurrences of kidney failure."; August 1, 2001

Eco Dent Ultimate Natural Daily Rinse; "May be contaminated with Pseudomonas alcaligenes and Pseudomonas baleurica."; August 2, 2001

BumbleBar Organic Energy Bars; "The chocolate used to make the bars contained milk not declared on the label. Persons who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk or milk proteins run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products."; August 8, 2001

All That's Natural II MSM Eyes and Nasal Drops; "Microbial contamination (Pseudomonas mendocina/Klebsiella pneumoniae). Involves a health hazard situation where there is reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."; September 6, 2001

Greenbank Farms Organic Medium Cheddar Cheese; "The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Involves a health hazard situation where there is reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."; September 19, 2000

--- General recall and food warning data is available at http://www.safetyalerts.com and http://www.foodhaccp.com.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Health Canada) product recalls and food warnings can be found at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/ english/corpaffr/recarapp/recaltoce.shtml

U.S. Food and Drug Administration product recalls and food warnings can be found at: http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/archive.html

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