MTR to probe recall of sambar powder packs in US

Chennai, Nov 9 (IANS) The Bengaluru-based food products company MTR Foods is trying to ascertain the reasons for the withdrawal of sambar powder packs by an American company.

The US Food and Drugs Administration (USFDA) on Monday said Shri Shiva Foods Inc was recalling MTR Sambar Powder because it may be contaminated with salmonella — an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

“Healthy persons infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhoea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis,” the USFDA said.

According to USFDA, the product was sold between January 2016 and October 2016 through two wholesellers.

“No illnesses have been reported to date,” the USFDA added.

MTR Foods spokesperson Nalini Rao in an email told IANS: “Shri Shiva Foods Pvt Ltd is not our authorised importer or distributor and it seems that this case is again a result of parallel exports (unauthorised exports wherein products that are meant for domestic consumption are exported without our knowledge and consent).”

From the lot number, it was clear the product was meant for consumption in India, she added.

“Moreover, MTR Sambar Masala has a shelf life of 12 months in India and with the manufacturing date of October 27, 2015 this product has passed its Indian expiry date in October 2016,” Rao said.

She stressed that the company adheres to national and international standards across all operations: from sourcing the finest quality, safe ingredients to processing and packaging using cutting-edge technology.

According to her, MTR Foods was a key exporter of Indian packaged foods to the US for over 20 years now and “our plants and processes are USFDA approved and our packaging is USFDA compliant”.

“In the last three years, none of the MTR authorized consignments has been rejected by the USFDA,” Rao added.

“We are already in the process of reaching out to Shri Shiva Foods Inc to find out the reasons why they are recalling an already expired product by indicating that the products may have salmonella,” she added.