Local News

Friday, Nov 02 2012 11:08 AM

Bolthouse Farms carrot chips recalled

BY CHRISTINE BEDELL Californian government editor cbedell@bakersfield.com

California health officials warned people Friday not to eat certain Bolthouse Farms carrot chips because the product may be contaminated with salmonella.

No one has reported being sickened by the product, according to the California Department of Public Health, and it was not immediately known whether the carrot chips are sold in the Bakersfield area.

The carrot chips in question are in 16-oz. bags with "Best If Used By" dates of Nov. 12 and 13 of this year. They have the following coding information on the front right corner of the bags: 04T XXXX BF212J11 or 04T XXXX BF212J12; the four X's are any series of numbers that indicate the time of packaging, the public health department said.

Bakersfield-headquartered Bolthouse Farms initiated the voluntary recall after learning salmonella was found in or outside -- it wasn't clear which -- one package of the product during routine surveillance sampling by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, according to the health department and Bolthouse.

They said the carrot chips were up for sale throughout the United States and Canada at markets and grocery stores.

Bolthouse spokesman Todd Putman said Friday morning he'd look into whether the product is sold in or around Bakersfield. Nearly 5,600 cases were being recalled.

State officials said consumers who have the recalled chips should throw them away or take them to the store where they bought them for a refund.

They said symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea that may be bloody. Most of those sickened recover within a week.

Some may develop complications that require hospitalization. Infants, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for more severe illness. CDPH recommended consumers experiencing any ill effects after consuming the products should consult their health care provider.

Consumers who see the product being offered for sale are encouraged to report the activity to the CDPH toll-free complaint line at 800-495-3232.

Based on testing done so far, the contamination most likely happened somewhere in the distribution chain, in a store or distribution center, Putman said.

That's because when carrots are shipped, some batches are held back. Two nights ago an independent lab tested held-back product and no salmonella was found, Putman said.

Neither Putman nor the state knew whether Bolthouse has recalled a product before.

Bolthouse has been operating in Bakersfield since 1972. Earlier this year, Campbell Soup announced its purchase of the company from Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC for $1.55 billion in cash.

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