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Taco Bell Cheese Dip Recalled Over Botulism Fears

Food
An example of the 15 ounce cheese dips recalled over botulism fears. FDA

Kraft Heinz announced Tuesday it was voluntarily recalling around 7,000 cases of Taco Bell Salsa Con Queso Mild Cheese Dip over concerns they could become infected with the bacteria that causes botulism.

The company said the dip in the affected cases had begun to separate, which could create conditions that allow the bacterium Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum) to grow.


The affected dip comes in 15 ounce glass jars and have use by dates ranging from October 31, 2018 to January 23, 2019.

"We deeply regret this situation and apologize to any consumers we have disappointed," the company said in its announcement.

Kraft Heinz confirmed that no illnesses had been reported. They urged customers who had purchased the product not to eat it, but to return it to the store for a full refund or call the company at 1-800-310-3704.

The cheese dip recall comes the same week as popular crackers Ritz and Goldfish were caught up in a recall due to the use of whey powder contaminated with salmonella.

The affected cheese dip product was only distributed in the U.S.

Botulism is a potentially fatal form of food poisoning that attacks the nerves, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Symptoms begin with weakness of the eye, face, mouth and throat muscles. This can spread to the neck, arms, torso and legs, and even the muscles that control breathing, which is what makes the disease sometimes fatal.

Botulism is actually caused by spores the bacteria make to protect themselves The spores do not usually make people sick unless encouraged to grow in certain environments that are low oxygen, low sugar, low acid, low salt, within a certain temperature range and that contain a certain amount of water.

Improperly home-canned foods can provide such an environment, and most foodborne cases of botulism come from homemade products, according to the CDC.

For example, in 2016, the most recent year for which data exists, the most extensive botulism outbreak was linked to homemade alcohol produced in a Mississippi prison and the second from home-canned goods, according to the National Botulism Surveillance Summary for 2016. There were 29 confirmed foodborne cases that year overall.

Other commercial recalls linked to botulism in 2018 included "Gerard & Dominique Seafoods" brand Cold Smoked Wild Coho Salmon Lox in Washington, pork soup from Guymon Extracts in Oklahoma and Imperial Caviar and Seafood brand and VIP Caviar Club brand whitefish and salmon roe in Canada, Food Safety News reported.

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