Food Safety and Inspection Service
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
News and Information
HEINZ RECALLS VEGETABLE CHICKEN DINNER BABY FOOD
Washington, October 9, 1998--The H. J. Heinz Co., a Pittsburgh-based
food processing firm, is voluntarily recalling one days production of its vegetable
chicken baby food because the product may contain elevated concentrations of lead, the U.
S. Department of Agriculture announced today.
All 4-oz. jars of "Heinz Building Block 2 Vegetable Chicken
Dinner" (baby food) with a code beginning with "P3117WB" are being
recalled. "P-51" appears inside the USDA inspection seal on the product label.
The product was distributed to retail food stores nationwide.
"Because of the potential public health risk associated with
exposure to elevated concentrations of lead, especially in young children, we urge
consumers who have purchased the suspect product to return it to the place of
purchase," said Thomas J. Billy, administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection
Service. USDA is informing the public so consumers who may have purchased this product can
check their cupboards. Parents whose children have consumed this product regularly for
several weeks and are concerned should contact their pediatricians.
The problem was discovered by the Food and Drug Administration in
the course of conducting its Market Basket Survey. Jars tested in the days
production contained 20-22 micrograms of lead per 4-ounce jar. According to FDA, children
from 6-11 months receive, on a daily basis, an average of 4.1 micrograms of lead from
food, and children from 12 months to 2 years receive on a daily basis an average of 5.3
micrograms of lead from food. Children and adults are exposed to low levels of lead from
food and other sources every day.
Immediately after being notified by FDA of the results, FSIS--which
regulates meat and poultry products--worked with the company to initiate the product
Consumers with questions about the recall may phone the toll-free
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555. The hotline can be reached from l0 a.m.
to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday. Consumers may also wish to call the Heinz
Consumer Hotline at 1-800-782-8408.