Sargento Foods Inc. of Plymouth said on Friday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has informed the company that it made an error in the laboratory finding that led to Sargento issuing a voluntary cheese recall on July 27.
"Following FDA's review of our supporting laboratory records for this sample and additional testing, we have determined that our initial finding of listeria monocytogenes was incorrect," Gary Pierce, regional food and drug director of the FDA office in Dallas, said in an Aug. 24 letter to the company, Sargento said.
"All of the date coded products in question have been totally cleared -- no danger to public health ever existed," Louis Gentine, chairman and chief executive officer of Sargento Foods Inc., said today in a press release. "The new information from the FDA confirms what we at Sargento believed all along, since no listeria was found in any sample tested by two independent testing laboratories, including the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture."
Although the company found no evidence to support the FDA's test for the bacterium, the company had agreed to issue the voluntary recall of two shredded cheese varieties: the 8-ounce packages of Sargento Fancy Mozzarella with the code dates 19OCT01 and 20OCT01, and Sargento 6 Cheese Italian Blend Shredded Cheese with the code date 20OCT01.
"We want to reassure consumers that all of our products that they have purchased and used continue to meet the superior quality and food safety standards for which Sargento is known,"Gentine said in Fridays announcement. "Although there was a lab error in this particular unusual case, we continue to be supportive of the FDA's important role to ensure the wholesomeness of the food supply," he added generously.