If you were about to pop the top on a can of taco- or cheeseburger-flavored Pringles, you might want to hold that thought.
The meat-inspired chips are the latest products added to a recall stretching back to Feb. 26. Pringles's parent company Procter & Gamble announced the voluntary recall Tuesday.
The chips contain hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), a common “flavor-enhancer,” made by Basic Food Flavors, Inc., that has been found to be contaminated with salmonella.
Products from 26 other brands have already been recalled (See here for complete list of products affected). That list could continue to grow, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still investigating.
Recalled products fall mostly into the soup, dip, snack mix, and salad dressing categories.
This is because they are considered “ready to eat products,” says Rita Chappelle, a spokesperson for the FDA.
Their processing doesn’t include a “kill step,” which would kill salmonella before leaving the factory, nor does their preparation involve cooking or high heats, which would also destroy the bacteria.
The good news is that this is a relatively “low risk” recall, Ms. Chappelle says. There haven’t been any reported illnesses associated with HVP to date.
Consumers should simply throw out any recalled products and check www.foodsafety.gov daily for any additions to the recall.
The contamination was discovered by a customer of Basic Food Flavors, Inc. during routine testing. The customer reported the salmonella contamination to the FDA, which then sent a team of investigators to confirm the contamination at Basic Food Flavor’s facilities.
So what is HVP exactly?
The FDA describes it as "a substance used in small amounts to add flavor to many commercially processed foods, such as soups, hot dogs, chilis, stews, dips, salad dressings, gravies, frozen dinners, and snack foods."
On its website, Basic Food Flavors, Inc. says its “product range encompasses all types of HVP. Whether your requirement is Liquid, Paste, Vacuum dried granules, Spray dried powder, or IP certified Non GMO, Basic Food Flavors produces it.”
Pringles Restaurant Cravers Cheeseburger, Super Stack Canister: 181 grams, UPC code: 37000 26936, with best by dates of 02/2011, 04/2011
Pringles Family Faves Taco Night, Super Stack Canister: 181 grams, UPC code: 37000 26773, with best buy dates of 03/2011, 04/2011, 05/2011