Sapro Australia is recalling Koo brand vegetable products for a canning failure that may cause microbial contamination and if consumed, could lead to illness.
Tiger Brands, parent company of Koo, identified some cans with defective side seams at one of its South African sites through internal testing and quality assurance processes. As a result, in late July, Tiger Brands recalled 20 million cans in South Africa.
Possible risk of botulism
Though no illness has yet been reported from the faulty canning, the potential dangers include the cans themselves exploding and causing injury, and botulism — a relatively rare but serious form of bacterial poisoning often caused by improperly canned foods.
Clostridium botulinum are bacteria that produce the neurotoxin botulinum, which causes the disease botulism. Symptoms often begin 12 to 36 hours after consuming the toxin, and include difficulty swallowing, facial paralysis, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, unreactive or fixed pupils, blurred vision and drooping eyelids. In severe cases, botulism can be fatal.
It’s very rare for the bacterium to survive in commercial production, but all employees must watch for bulging or leaking cans, or a strange appearance or smell when opening cans. Food businesses can prevent botulism through proper hand washing with hot, soapy water and by drying hands well before handling food. Of course, a clean kitchen should be maintained, and staff should take care when preparing bottled or vacuum-packed foods.
List of recalled items
Products affected will have the dates printed on the bottom of cans from 1/5/2019 up to and including 5/5/2021. The recall in Australia includes Koo:
- Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce (410g)
- Butter Beans in Flavoured Brine (410g)
- Butter Beans in Tomato Sauce (420g)
- Corn Creamstyle Sweetcorn (415g)
- Whole Kernel Sweetcorn in Brine (410g)
- Mixed Vegetables in Curry Sauce (420g)
- Mixed Vegetables in Brine (410g)
- Mixed Vegetables in Hot Curry Sauce (420g)
- Baked Beans in Chilli Sauce (420g)
These products have been for sale at independent food retailers across Australia If your business has purchased any of these foods, it’s crucial that you do not use them and that they are not served to customers.
Even if the can looks normal, these products should be considered unsafe and returned for a full refund. Handle leaky or bulged cans very carefully. For more information on the recall, contact Sapro Australia or by phone at 0414070564.
All food recalls must be taken seriously and acted upon immediately to protect customers from illness and your business from liability.