FDA Recall is so Slow it Makes Me Sick. Literally.
There’s got to be a better way to do this. Michigan has just issued a recall 6 days after the FDA for a product that was surely consumed 3 months ago.
This story is about onions and salmonella, but that's not what it's about.
I got an email on October 29th from the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Like you, I get lots of emails every day and only give most of them a quick, cursory look before immediately deleting them. This one caught my attention because I thought it was a recall of a product we use.
HelloFresh has been informed by one of its ingredient suppliers that it is conducting a voluntary recall of its onions due to the potential presence of salmonella bacteria
My wife and I are big fans of these home meal delivery services. She has mad skills in the kitchen and can create something amazing seemingly out of thin air. What she doesn’t like is all the prep work. With the home meal kits, everything is pre-measured and you have just the right amount of spices and sauces right in front of you to make a flavorful dish. She always adds her own touch on top of it to customize the food to come out perfect. Me, I need to follow the directions. I need a plan. Just because she can cook, doesn’t mean it’s her job at home, and I feel great when I can put together a complicated, tasteful meal to serve up at the end of a long day for her. Left to my own devices, it wouldn’t be just cereal, but it wouldn’t be as savory as what I can make with one of the meal kits.
We tried almost all the different services and were pretty picky before settling on what we use on a weekly basis. We've tried HelloFresh and don't currently have a subscription, but that's not what this is about. It's the timing of the recall. The Michigan Department of Agriculture recall came SIX DAYS after the US Food and Drug Administration issued it. The instructions read as follows:
Please discard all onions received from July 7, 2021 through September 8, 2021.
I can 100% guarantee that by October 29, nobody who got a meal kit dropped off on their porch in a cardboard box with ice packs in July, August, or the first month of September still has that food in their fridge. These kits are designed to be fresh- in this case, it's right in the name...hello!
I get it, it takes time for people to get sick and then for enough cases to be discovered and then traced back to a bad batch of onions, but this seems ridiculous. I want to rant and rave and say there’s got to be a better way, but I guess the best solution is to ensure all the food you prepare is fully cooked. Bacteria is eliminated and the risk of contracting salmonella is reduced to almost nothing if you cook the onions to an internal temperature of 165.
So, when you get that box of food, take a look and examine all the ingredients first and make sure nothing has happened during shipping. Then be sure to read all the instructions on the menu card of your home meal kit. A good meat thermometer makes cooking protein to temperature easy.
We love the home meal services for the flavorful entrees and tasty sides, but also for the ease of preparation and the significant amount of time it saves us on meal prep and shopping. It suits our lifestyle. If you're thinking of trying one, try a few and I bet you'll find something satisfying.