Canned tuna producers recall thousands of cases over contamination fears

18 March 2016

Canned tuna producers Bumble Bee Foods LLC and Tri-Union Seafoods LLC have separately recalled thousands of cases of canned chunk light tuna that could be possibly contaminated.

San Diego-based Bumble Bee had recalled 31,579 cases of canned chunk light tuna with three specific UPC codes, produced in February and distributed nationally. The recall by Tri-Union Seafoods involves 2,745 cases, or 107,280 cans, of Chicken of the Sea 5 oz canned chunk light tuna in oil and 5 oz canned chunk light tuna in water that was sold across the US in February and March.

According to the company, all of the recalled products were canned in the same Chicken of the Sea facility in Lyons, Georgia.

The two companies said the recalls were related to ''deviations'' in the commercial sterilisation process, and could cause contamination by ''spoilage organisms or pathogens,'' according to the recall notices. Specifically, according to Tri-Union Seafoods, it initiated its recall due to the possibility of the tuna being undercooked due to equipment malfunction.

"The health and safety of our consumers is our No. 1 priority,'' Tri-Union Seafoods president Shue Wing Chan said in a statement. ''As soon as we discovered the issue, we took immediate steps to initiate this voluntary recall, alerting our retail customers that received the product and instructing them to remove it from store shelves."

No illnesses had been reported in connection with the recalled tuna.

According to Steve Mavity, Bumble Bee's senior vice president, technical services and corporate quality, Bumble Bee recalled specific codes of canned Chunk Light Tuna produced in Chicken of the Sea's Georgia production facility, a third-party supplier for Bumble Bee.

"During a routine inspection, it was discovered there was a malfunction in a machinery part. That part has been replaced, and the proper functionality of the machine verified," said John DeBeer, vice president of Quality and Compliance for Chicken of the Sea, CNN reported.

"The recall is being initiated out of an abundance of caution due to the possible under-processing of the affected products," Bumble Bee said.

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