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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

HYDROLYZED VEGETABLE PROTEIN DANGERS

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein or Hydrolyzed Protein is a flavor enhancer added to many processed foods such as soups, sauces and seasonings. (Processed foods are foods that aren't sold raw; they're processed in some way by food-processing companies – for example, by combining ingredients and adding them to other products, which may be cooked.)

HVP FOOD RECALL

SALMONELLA All the hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) made in powder and paste form by one manufacturer, Basic Food Flavors Inc. on or after Sept. 17, 2009, is being recalled. The product is being recalled because of the potential to be contaminated by Salmonella Tennessee, a bacterium that can make you sick. Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and/or fever in anyone, and more serious illness in people with weak immune systems (such as infants, the elderly, people with AIDS, and people who are on chemotherapy or who take some kinds of medications for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis). Most people who become infected with Salmonella recover without treatment within a week or less, but people with weakened immune systems might not. In these people, the illness can be extremely serious or even fatal.. 

Some foods that used Basic Food Flavor's HVP as an ingredient during this time also are being recalled if they were not cooked during processing or will not be cooked by consumers; for example, some snack chips and some powdered dip mixes.

What should I do if I ate one of the recalled products?

To date there have been no reports of illness from any of the recalled products, even though the HVP has been in distribution for more than six months. These products present a low risk. However, you should watch for signs of infection, including the symptoms listed above: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, or fever. Call your health care professional right away if you develop any of these symptoms. If you have a weak immune system because of one of the reasons listed above or for any other reason, it's especially important for you to get medical help right away if you have these symptoms.

Reporting your illness to your health care professional also helps CDC determine if an outbreak of illness is starting.

How can I find out if a food I've bought or want to buy has HVP in it?

Instead of trying to check food labels to see if a food has HVP in it, it's better to go to the list of recalled products on FDA's Web site to find out if a company has announced a recall. You can also call the company that makes the food or check the company's Web site to see if the company has announced a recall because many products containing HVP are not associated with these recalls.

Although FDA generally encourages consumers to check food labels, these are better ways to identify the recalled products than checking food labels, in this particular situation, because many products that contain HVP aren't being recalled for the reasons described above.  Also, HVP can be listed in different ways on food labels, depending on what ingredients were used to make the HVP.

Check www.FoodSafety.gov for a list of recalled products

Source: FDA

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