Michel et Augustin Inc., a Brooklyn-based cookie company, has issued a recall for 900 packages of its six-pack, dark chocolate Petites baguettes butter cookies due to a risk of undeclared hazelnuts.
More About the FDA Butter Cookies Recall
The issue was first noticed when the company discovered packages with visible fragments of nuts atop some of the butter cookies. Investigation by the manufacturer and Augustin discovered a packaging error where some of the company’s milk chocolate and hazelnut cookies were unintentionally mixed in with the dark chocolate.
No injuries or allergic reactions are currently known to have resulted from this error and the recall is intended to keep it that way. Anyone who has a dark chocolate package with an expiry date of 07, 2016, and who is allergic to hazelnuts should err on the side of caution and not eat their product. Consumers who have purchased one of the affected packages may return it for a full refund.
The full recall notice, which the FDA posts on its website as a public service, can be viewed here.
About Undeclared Allergens
For obvious reasons, people with food allergies try and pay attention to food labels and they need to be able to trust that if the label says a certain allergen isn’t in the product, that this actually is the case. Unfortunately, errors do happen and undeclared allergens make up about a third of all food-related health risks reported to the FDA.
The products most likely to be involved in an undeclared allergen recall are bakery items, snack foods, candy, dairy products, and dressings (a category that includes salad dressings, sauce, and gravy). The specific allergens involved are most often milk, wheat, or soy, but nuts are not uncommon as well.
The primary source of undeclared allergen problems is considered to be labeling errors. The combination of mass-produced food items with different varieties made under the same roof, similar ingredient lists and look-alike packaging, creates various avenues for possible mix-ups. The rise of computerization and the ability to do things like print labels directly onto packages has helped costs but also introduced new possible sources of mistakes.
It is also possible, as the Augustin case shows, for products to get mixed up into the wrong batches.
“Michel Et Augustin Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Hazelnuts in Petites Baguettes Butter Cookies Dark Chocolate,” FDA web site, April 7, 2016; http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm494815.htm, last accessed April 8, 2016.
“Finding Food Allergens Where They Shouldn’t Be,” FDA web site, October 23, 2014; http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm416577.htm, last accessed April 8, 2016.