Syracuse cooks need to check their spice cabinets for Archer Farms or Spice Hunter ground tumeric, or Spice Hunter ground curry seasoning (regular, not organic.) All three products have been recalled in the last 24 hours by their brand distributor or retail outlets because of suspected high levels of lead in the spices. Turmeric is typically used in Mediterranean, African, Indian and Latin cuisines. Curry seasonings are used in Indian, Asian and Carribean dishes.
The Archer Farms products were sold in Syracuse at Target stores. Spice Hunter spices and seasonings are available at Wegmans and Tops supermarkets. Both Archer Farms and Spice Hunter spices may also be available at other Syracuse markets, including natural food stores and ethnic markets. The contaminated turmeric and curry seasoning blend (which contain turmeric) may also have been packaged with other labels from different distributors.
According to the ground turmeric recall memo on the FDA website, “B&M, Inc. of Mount Vernon, MO is voluntarily recalling Archer Farms Ground Turmeric sold at Target stores in glass bottles with a net weight of 2.6 oz. (74g), due to elevated levels of lead.” B&M claims that the manufacturer providing the contaminated turmeric notified them of the issue with elevated lead levels.
The FDA has not yet published a Spice Hunter recall memo, but according to Food Safety News, Pacific northwest supermarket chain Top Food & Drug issued the recall, “citing concern about excessive lead levels in turmeric.” The Spice Hunter is owned by C.F. Sauer Company, Richmond, VA.
UPDATE, April 19: C. F. Sauer VP of Marketing Joe Collerd provided Syracuse Food with a complete list of UPC/Item number and date codes for the three Spice Hunter ground spices which the company has voluntarily recalled.
The recalled Archer Farms ground turmeric in 2 oz. Glass jars have the UPC 0-85239-02612-0. Lot numbers and “Best By” dates included are:
- Lot 1740901A, Best By 6/23/2011
- Lot 2180902A, Best By 8/6/2011
- Lot 2780906A, Best By 10/5/2011
- Lot 2920903A, Best By 10/19/11
- Lot 3060903A, Best By 11/2/2011
- Lot 0071003A, Best By1/7/2012
Lot numbers and “Best By” dates are stamped on the bottom of the Archer Farms ground tumeric jar. The Archer Farms ground tumeric was distributed nationwide to 42 states including New York. B&M, Inc. shipped the jars from June, 2009, to February, 2010. According to B&M, Inc., no other Archer Farms spices are affected, and no illnesses have been reported from consuming the recalled ground tumeric.
Cooks who have a jar of Archer Farms ground tumeric should return the jar to the store where the spice was purchased. Consumers with questions should contact B&M, Inc., 877-321-5852, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CST. Target shoppers can also contact Target Guest Relations toll-free at 800-316-6151.
According to the notice on the Top Food & Drug website, the recalled Spice Hunter products are:
- Spice Hunter Curry Seasoning in 1.8 oz. Containers: UPC code 0-81057-01330. Lot numbers: 09 198 and 09 225
- Spice Hunter Ground Turmeric in 2 oz. Containers: UPC code 0-81057-01985. Lot numbers: 09 196, 09 201 and 09 264 (update April 19: additional lot/date code – 09 247)
- Update April 19 from Spice Hunter release: Item # 1335 Spice Hunter Indian Hot Curry with lot/date code: 09 222
Collerd, the Spice Hunter representative. confirmed in an email to Syracuse Food that only these three Spice Hunter ground spice products were recalled in response to notification from their turmeric root distributor that the raw material (turmeric) may have been contaminated with lead. These three ground spice products were distributed nationwide in 2009.
The danger in consuming excess levels of lead is that the heavy metal accumulates in the body over time. Elevated levels of lead can cause delayed mental and physical development and learning deficiencies. Pregnant women, infants and young children are at special risk from increased levels of lead. People concerned about blood lead levels should contact their physician or health clinic to ask about testing.
Photos of the recalled jars of ground turmeric and ground curry spice appear in the slide show accompanying this article.
Cooking experts recommend that ground spices be discarded after one year, or earlier if tasted and not pungent. Some good kitchen practices include buying whole spices whenever possible and grinding them at home, buying ground spices in the smallest possible quantities, labeling spice bottles with date opened, and regularly purging old spices from the kitchen cabinet.
Syracuse Food contacted Spice Hunter to confirm whether the company’s ground turmeric and ground curry seasoning has been formally recalled. Watch this column for updates about this ground spices recall as they become available.
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