Premier Foods is the largest food manufacturer in the UK, known for its big name consumer-favorite brands like Oxo, Sharwood’s, and Loyd Grossman sauces. Just last month, Loyd Grossman sauces were recognized as one of Premier Food’s eight “power brands.” This week the brand is being recognized for another reason: a botulism-related food recall. Health Protection Scotland (HPS) is investigating conditions throughout the Premier Foods supply chain after two children fell ill with botulism linked to the company’s Loyd Grossman korma sauce.
“We are working urgently with the authorities to investigate the cause of this incident, including how the jar may have been transported and stored after leaving the factory,” a representative from Premier Foods told the UK’s Telegraph newspaper. “While these investigations are underway, we have initiated a precautionary recall of the specific batch code in the interests of the safety of our consumers.”
To determine the cause, Premier Foods and the HPS have to examine every step of the 300-mile supply chain that brought the Loyd Grossman sauce to a Tesco in Scotland from the manufacturing plant in Suffolk’s Bury St. Edmunds. The authorities state that the botulism virus could have been picked up in a warehouse, on a transport truck, or even during the bottling process.
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In the meantime, Premier Foods has recalled 47,000 jars of the korma sauce. According to reports, the products being recalled are 350g jars of Loyd Grossman korma sauce with a “best before” date of February 2013. Consumers are instructed to look for a batch code of 1218R 07:21 printed on the neck of the bottle. Premier Foods noted in a statement that there is so far “no evidence” that any other batches outside of this particular shipment were contaminated.
According to the UK’s Daily Mail, Loyd Grossman himself – the UK celebrity chef who has lent his name to the line of sauces and salsas – is “distressed and upset” after hearing about the outbreak linked to his product. “It was such a big shock when he was told about the illness of the children – he's devastated, it's all very upsetting,” his agent Peter Schnabi told reporters. “Loyd's not just putting his name to the products, it's a full involvement. We're furiously trying to figure out what has happened. Loyd will be leading the charge in finding out who's responsible. He's not happy about it.”