Whether it's a piece of produce that's gotten a little too soft or a package of meat that's past its expiration date, throwing away food can feel downright wasteful. However, in some situations, doing so is the only way to ensure that what you're eating is safe. Sadly, that's the case with four foods from one company right now, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is advising anyone who purchased them to toss them immediately.
On Oct. 20, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that San Jose, California-based Demaiz, Inc., doing business as Mex-Tamale Foods, had recalled approximately 20,759 pounds of its tamales.
The recalled tamales were made between Sept. 20 and Oct. 14, 2021 and were distributed to stores in Northern California. The tamales were subsequently sold at deli counters within those stores.
The tamales were pulled from the market after it was discovered that they may contain sesame, a common allergen, that is not disclosed on the tamales' ingredients lists. This was discovered during an observation by FSIS representatives, who viewed individuals involved in the tamales' production adding sesame seeds to the sauce used in the Mex-Tamales' recipe.
According to a 2019 study published in JAMA Network Open, over 1.5 million children and adults in the U.S. are thought to have a sesame allergy. While sesame doesn't number among the "Big 8"—the most common food allergens in the U.S., which must be specifically disclosed on any packaged food products regulated by the United States Food&Drug Administration (FDA)—Food Allergy Research&Education, the world's largest food allergy non-profit, has recommended that it be added to the list due to the prevalence of sesame allergies.
The recalled products include:
bulk packages of individually wrapped, fully cooked, not shelf stable Mex-Tamales Foods 6-oz. Pork Tamales Wrapped in Inedible Corn Husk
bulk packages of individually wrapped, heat-treated, not fully cooked, not shelf stable Mex-Tamales Foods 6-oz. Beef Tamales Wrapped in Inedible Corn Husk
bulk packages of individually wrapped, heat-treated, not fully cooked, not shelf stable Mex-Tamales Foods 8-oz. Pork Tamales Wrapped in Inedible Corn Husk
bulk packages of individually wrapped, heat-treated, not fully cooked, not shelf stable Mex-Tamales Foods 6-oz. Pork Tamales Wrapped in Inedible Corn Husk
While there have been no confirmed reports of illness or injury associated with the recalled tamales, the FSIS-issued recall notice recommends that anyone in possession of the tamales throw them away or return them to the store from which they were purchased rather than consuming them. If you have questions about the recall, contact Alejandro Arreola, president of Demaiz Inc., at (408) 580-7745.
Anyone who believes they may have experienced side effects related to consumption of the recalled tamales should contact a healthcare provider.
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