FSIS issues public health alert for beef meatball products over misbranding

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A public health alert was issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service over a beef meatballs product that was misbranded and produced with an undeclared allergen.

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In a news release on Thursday, FSIS said Whole Foods Market, Inc., sold an undetermined amount of beef meatballs with marinara sauce that was misbranded and produced with Parmesan cheese made from milk, which is a known allergen. The Parmesan cheese was not declared on the product label, the FSIS said.

The FSIS said the health alert was issued “out of the utmost of caution” to ensure that consumers with allergic reactions to milk are aware that this product should not be consumed. A recall was not requested because the FSIS said it believes the product is no longer available to be directly bought by consumers.

The beef meatballs with marinara sauce product subject to the public health alert:

  • 24-ounce clear plastic containers of “Whole Foods Market Beef Meatballs with Marinara” with a PLU code of 39496 and sell-by dates through Feb. 27, 2021.

This product was sold in retail locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin, according to the news release.

The problem was discovered when the firm reported a customer who documented an adverse reaction after eating the product.

The FSIS is advising consumers who have milk allergies to either throw the product away or return it to the stores where it was bought.

Consumers with questions about the alert can contact Nathan Cimbala, Global Public Relations, Whole Foods Market, Inc., at nathan.cimbala@wholefoods.com.

Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.