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Huge FDA Food Recall of 10,000 Products – Another Wakeup Call To Avoid Processed Foods!

I received this urgent message in my Inbox today from one of the lists I belong to, and I think it’s so important to pass this information along to people you care about. Processed foods are everywhere and there is really no telling where you might find contaminated foods.

One thing I know for certain is that food produced sustainably and cleanly will not end up on a recall list! Just think about all the recalls you’ve heard about in the news – every one of these is from some type of processed food! That is why now more than ever, supporting your local farmers is not only going to help your community’s economy, but it will ensure that there is indeed future access to safe food for you and your family!

This time the culprit is hydrolyzed vegetable protein – which, according to Wikipedia “is a protein that has been hydrolyzed or broken down into its component amino acids. While there are many means of achieving this, two of the most common are prolonged boiling in a strong acid (acid-HVP) or strong base or using an enzyme such as the pancreatic protease enzyme to stimulate the naturally-occurring hydrolytic process.”

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, hydrolyzed protein is used to enhance flavor. The chemical breakdown of proteins may result in the formation of free glutamate that joins with free sodium to form monosodium glutamate (MSG). When added this way, American law does not require the labels to list MSG as an ingredient.”

MSG is a deadly excitotoxin that can cause any number of health issues, especially the more it is consumed. Read more about the harmful nature of excitotoxins here, and why this substance should be avoided at all costs.

Please also note that some organic foods are on this list. Many packaged, organic foods are also processed and are not necessarily exempt from safety issues due to standards not being adhered to or being processed on shared equipment.


The FDA announced that HVP manufactured by Basic Food Flavors has been recalled, and an estimated 10,000 products are affected by this recall. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) is a flavor enhancer commonly used in processed foods.

HVP is found in snack foods such as potato chips and pretzels. It’s also used in dry mixes for chip dips, gravy, au jus and marinades. HVP is also used in frozen foods (such as taquitos and quesadillas) and in fresh foods such as potato salad and fresh dips. In addition to these items, it is also used in many other grocery products.
The recall was issued due to possible salmonella contamination. Salmonella is one of the most common causes of bacterial food-borne illness in the United States. It can cause fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Note: most recalls due to E. coli and salmonella contamination are from meat and meat products originating from factory farms and industrial food operations. Those contaminations almost never occur when meats and meat products are produced in safe, clean, pasture and grass-fed operations. Support these operations and stop buying these dangerous, processed products being manufactured and produced by large operations and corporations that don’t adhere to the tenets of real food safety! Please keep in mind that the bottom line for most big manufacturers is profit, not your health!

The following soup and dip mix products are included in the HVP recall:

  • Castella Chicken Soup Base
  • Concord Foods Vegetable Dip Seasoning – Homestyle
  • De la Casa Spinach Dip
  • Dean’s – various brands of soup/soup mix & dip/dip mix
  • Delicioso Spinach Dip
  • Follow Your Heart Beef Au Jus
  • Fresh Food Concepts Garden Fresh Spinach & Spinach Dip with Real Yogurt
  • Great Value Ranch Chip Dip
  • Healthwise Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Homemade Gourmet Tortilla Soup Mix
  • Johnny’s French Dip Powdered Au Jus
  • Kroger Onion & Beefy Onion Soup Dip Mix
  • McCormick French Onion & Vegetable Dip Mix
  • Mrs. Gerry’s Crab Creole Spread & Old Home/Old Fashioned Spinach Dip
  • Oak Lake Farms French Onion Chip Dip
  • Publix Beef Flavored Stew Mix
  • Reser’s soup and dip mixes
  • Rojo’s Garden Fresh Spinach Dip
  • T. Marzetti soup and dip mixes

Bouillon products

  • Herbox chicken, beef & vegetable bouillon

Dressing and dressing mix products

  • Follow Your Heart Organic Creamy Ranch Dressing
  • Reser’s Ranch House Dressing
  • Trader Joe’s Organic Creamy Ranch Dressing & Dip

Flavoring base and seasoning products

  • Garden Harvest Special Blend Seasoning
  • Minor’s Bacon Base
  • Publix Meatloaf Seasoning

Gravy mix products

  • McCormick Onion Gravy mix
  • Publix Mushroom & Au Jus gravy mixes

Sauce and marinade mix products

  • Durkee Spaghetti & Marinade Mix
  • French’s Thick Spaghetti Sauce Mix
  • Weber Grill Creations Italian Herb Marinade Mix

The following is a list of snack and snack mix products that are included in the HVP recall:

  • CVS Honey Mustard Pretzel Bites
  • Great Nut Supply Honey Mustard Pretzels & Bar Mix
  • HK Anderson Honey Mustard Pretzel Bites
  • Tim’s Cascade Hawaiian style snacks
  • Herr’s Sea Salt Flavored Kettle Style Potato Chips
  • National Pretzel Company (various)
  • President’s Choice Honey Mustard Onion Pretzel Bite snack
  • Pringles Restaurant Cravers Cheeseburger & Family Faves Taco Night
  • Quaker Baked Cheddar Snack Mix
  • Rouses Louisiana’s Best Snack Mix
  • Safeway brand Honey Mustard Onion Nugget Pretzels
  • Spec’s Wines & Fine Foods
  • Sunflower Markets Honey Mustard Nugget Snack Mix

Frozen foods

  • Casa Solana Shredded Mini Beef Taquitos
  • E-Z Eats! Beef Taquitos
  • El Pasado Shredded Beef Mini and Beef Taquitos & Grilled Chicken Quesadillas
  • Giant Eagle Steak Taquitos
  • Jose Ole Taquitos
  • Posada Corn & Shredded Beef Taquitos
  • Tornados Ranchero Beef & Cheese

Prepared salad products

  • Reser’s Redskin Potato Salad
  • Safeway brand Redskin Potato Salad
  • Walmart brand Redskin Potato Salad

Ready-to-eat meal products

  • Follow Your Heart Ready-to-Eat Meals

Stuffing products

  • McCormick Corn Bread Stuffing

For the latest information on recalls, visit the Food and Drug Administration’s resource on recalls, market withdraws, and safety alerts.

59 replies on “Huge FDA Food Recall of 10,000 Products – Another Wakeup Call To Avoid Processed Foods!”

I was reading the details for the recall. It said that processing plants that are in possession of contaminated HVP may “recondition” the product to ensure the “kill step”. But if the kill step will be applied further in the supply chain (cooked at restaurant or by consumer) they are allowed to sell the contaminated product. Does this mean this list would be A LOT longer if it included all products, not just the ones “ready to eat”?

I so just want to gag… I have been staying away from processed products for a while now, but I just think of all the years we ate it.

Notice how I say “product” and not “food” and I am still correct? That thought makes me sick, as well!

Amber – I know, the whole situation is entirely too sickening to even contemplate. I feel the same way, I avoid processed foods now like the plague, but for many, many years I ate it too. I think many people who are now sickened by it did the same, and many will continue to do it because they don’t think it’s a problem or simply don’t know. And I just want to tell everyone I see that there really is a better way, and it doesn’t have to be through buying all the most expensive foods every time you go to the store. Sure, organic is best, but not everyone can afford organic all the time, but at least if people stopped buying processed foods, the situation we are having now would improve dramatically. You can’t go for more than a day without hearing or reading about some type of food recall. And it’s usually some kind of processed foods.

I think it’s ironic how much people complain about raw milk and the dangers of drinking it, and yet more food recalls and health issues arise from all this processed crap people are buying and putting into their bodies than the raw milk.

It is no wonder that people have serious health problems,,with all the toxic ingredients in foodstuffs,,For starters ,, ie,, MSG, High fructose corn syrup, bromine , to name some,,flouride in your toothpaste,,,and people are developing serious health problems And, then too there is the Sodium flouride and chlorine in drinking water ,,,Stop buying the damn stuff if you are concerned about your health,,,, I’ll educate everyone I can,,, People need to know,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Jack usmc ret

I suggest just staying away from the grocery store. One would be hard pressed to discover a food in a grocery store that is not a knock-off of its traditional counter part. And everyone of those knock-off foods exploits the consumer. We should think of grocery stores as markets for knock-off and exploitation.

Ciao, Pavil

Pavil the Uber Noob – yes, that’s why I wrote this post in the first place, to shock folks into buying local, sustainable foods. It was my hope that since there were so many products on this list, it would motivate people to think to themselves, “gee, what ISN’T full of MSG, preservatives, and toxic ingredients? Oh, that’s right, sustainable food!” There are some occasions where I go to the grocery store, but they are very few and far between, and I would say probably 60-70 percent of what we buy is from local, sustainable sources.

Lori – the picture was just supposed to represent McCormick foods in general, since the post is about the recall of their products. There have been so many recalls of processed foods and are continuing though, so I wouldn’t buy ANYTHING this company sells, nor the products of many other mainstream food companies. 10,000 products? What’s next?

I’m going to have to agree with Lori on this one. A picture of an item not on the list of recalled foods shouldn’t have been used. To me, it detracts from the “truth in advertising” theme that appears to be one of the issues your article/blog is referring to (i.e., MSG and it’s many hidden forms).

That having been said, I still like the fact that you did include information about HVP potentially becoming MSG in disguise once it’s added to food stuffs. That gives new meaning to the “No added MSG” you can see on a lot of processed food packaging these days. Doesn’t mean there isn’t any MSG in it, just that they didn’t have to add any.

I’ve also heard that the “ULTRA” pasteurization that milk is being subjected to allows for the possibility of free glutamate/glutamite to be released and present within it. I’m assuming the “sodium” portion isn’t required for the glutamate/ite to do it’s damage within the human body. Anyone know know for sure?

Good reads..

Unfortunately, buying locally is not always possible. It must be nice to live in a place where you can fullfill most of your food needs locally, but the infrastructure for that does not exist where I am, so grocery stores it is.

Lori and Kristi – I’m not sure if either of you noticed, but I do not have ALL the products listed from the 10,000+ products that were on the original list, to do that would require more space than I’d like to devote to that much text. If anyone wants to go and look at that recall list, they are more than welcome to do so. And I don’t believe it takes away from any “truth in advertising” message, even though it’s a given that really no processed food companies follow any such rule in any advertising they do. This is a pedantic argument and the fact that so many products were recalled from this company would warrant putting ANY McCormick product on this post. If that many products are recalled, it sullies the name of the company, period. I’d really rather see people reacting as they should, which is to take heed of the issues going on in the industrial food sector, we all know what they sell is not healthy, regardless of whether they make national recall lists – and sooner or later, most of them do.

Palmer – I am sorry you are unable to find any local products where you live. It’s probably true that other people experience this issue. Have you tried doing an Internet search to find out if you have any local farms anywhere near the proximity of where you live? Farmer’s markets? In our city, most of the farms I buy from are not right near my home. Some of them are 30-100 miles away. I go and pick up any food that I cannot buy within my immediate area, and I also go to the farmer’s markets and buy from farmers who live further away. It might be difficult to find what you are looking for, but I bet possible if you do some research.

There is so much more wrong here than just a couple products. The whole idea of eating healthy, fresh (safe) foods is a concept that I believe the majority of us would follow if there weren’t so many roadblocks. It’s easy to stand up on a box and preach, but much harder to actually live. 1.) Inner cities and other places don’t have local foods to offer, 2.) Farmers markets, local butchers, etc don’t take food stamps making eating healthy something only “rich” (by rich, I mean those who don’t need the system right now) people can experience, 3.) There is not enough knowledge on how to prepare foods that aren’t just nuked, boiled or baked. I’m sure there are more roadblocks and I am sure that we can find ways around them … but until someone does, this epidemic will continue (those bad foods keep people lazy). Keeping the poor majority sick is a way of population control … just sayin’ … it keeps them from uprising or complaining too much.

Lindy, I have to to disagree with you just a little on the roadblocks. Yes, it may be a little more difficult than just running into the grocery store and buying a bunch of processed foods but it’s not impossible. I speak from experience, we were on food stamps and didn’t have the most reliable vehicle and barely had enough money for bills but I was determined to make sure my family was eating as healthy as I could provide. Most people don’t even make an attempt!

1)Most major cities/towns do provide farmers markets (they come from other areas and set up) Sometimes it’s seasonal, so make your meal plan around what is available to you at that time.

2)Some local butchers do except food stamps, just takes some effort to find the ones that do.

3)MOST people have internet access (even in high poverty communities) if people can use internet for “fun” things such as games, facebook etc. I’m sure they can look up recipes on how to prepare certain meals.

I agree that there needs to be more information/help put out there. If you are a single mom working 2-3 jobs and can barely make ends meet, you are not going to have the time or energy to want to make the effort, when you can just pop a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner.

Melissa is absolutely correct. It’s true folks, there are roadblocks to eating healthy foods, and that’s just how the industrial food industry wants it to be. If we don’t make the effort and stand up to this bio-terrorist bully, we get what we get. We are not used to procuring food the way people did 200 years ago, there’s no doubt about that. But, there is no reason why we cannot learn those ways again. Growing your own food and supporting local farmers, that’s what this is all about. We can make excuses and say it can’t be done (and then you have allowed your beliefs and excuses to limit everything you do and trap you), or you can break out of your comfort zone and knowledge, learn something, and make an effort to improve your health and the environment, and the future for everyone. And, you don’t have to raise all your own food to make a difference. At minimum, you can support local farmers you trust. If you are not wiling to learn a different way than going to the grocery store for all the food you buy, then you are going to forever be stuck in that system that the industrial food industry has us believing we are trapped in. There are so many ways to achieve a healthy diet that you might not even conceive of unless you make the effort and try.

Just 7 years ago I was eating everything from the store, and I live in an urban area with most farms 20-30 miles away at the minimum. Now we buy 60-70 percent of our food from local farms. It’s just a different way of doing things and once you get used to it, you’ll never want to go back. Our family saves money on food and gets better quality and better taste, we are supporting our local community and economy, and saving on huge health costs in the future.

Being involved in the local food system is about community, so get involved in your community. You’ll find that there are other people struggling and in the same boat as you, but that there are a lot of folks wiling to help you out and also trade, barter, give you deals on food when you buy it. Find people to carpool with and others to share the work/load/responsibility for picking up/buying/delivery of food. There are urban gardens in most cities now where you can volunteer your time and have ownership in the garden and grow your own foods or have a CSA – and also with farmers selling meats and other foods too.

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