HVP Recall: What you need to know

The FDA recently issued a recall for HVP manufactured in paste and powder form and distributed by Basic Food Flavors, Inc. This large recall is especially concerning because the contaminated product was shipped to food manufacturers for use in a wide variety of subsequent products. Most recalled items are highly processed foods — just one more reason to try to avoid processed foods.

HVP, or hydrolyzed vegetable protein, is a common ingredient used as a flavor enhancer in processed foods such as soups, sauces, hot dogs, snack foods, and dips. For some reason, you can’t rely on the ingredients label to tell you if HVP is in a product, so be sure to check the recall list at the FDA web site then check your cabinets.

Any products not sold is required by the FDA to be “destroyed or reconditioned according to FDA-approved procedures.”

If you’re like me, you read that sentence and thought “What the hell does ‘reconditioned’ mean?” Reconditioned, in this case, means that the product went through a validated kill step such as cooking at an FDA-approved temperature for an FDA-approved length of time. If the product is ready-to-cook, it doesn’t have to be recalled since the cooking will kill the Salmonella (which shouldn’t be there in the first place.)

The Salmonella at the Basic Food Flavors, Inc. plant came from contaminated equipment. Equipment can become contaminated in many ways, including poor cleaning procedures, rodent activity, and leaks.