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Severe allergic reactions to Odwalla dairy-based beverage spark mass US recall

By Ben Bouckley , 06-Apr-2012

Odwalla has issued a ‘nationwide allergy alert’ in the US and is recalling dairy-based chocolate beverages that it warned could cause‘serious or life-threatening’ reactions in nut allergic consumers.

Yesterday the firm issued a ‘nationwide allergy alert’, and said it was recalling 12oz (355ml) and 32oz bottles of Chocolate Protein Monster (UPC Codes: 14054 13509, 14054 13504), as well as ‘variety packs’ including four bottles of the drink sold exclusively at Costco (UPC Code: 0 14054 266596).

During the last seven weeks, these beverages (with 'enjoy before' dates prior to and including May 23 2012) had been distributed across the US through retail food stores and on-premise foodservice establishments, Odwalla (owned by the Coca-Cola Company) added.

Life-threatening reactions possible

An Odwalla spokesperson said: “To date, four consumers have contacted Odwalla to report allergic reactions after drinking the product. These four consumers are not known to be allergic to soy and milk, but report being allergic to peanuts and/or tree nuts.”

“Odwalla Chocolate Protein beverage may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts or peanuts and tree nuts,” they added.

Odwalla said it was working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the cause of the reactions.“The beverage contains no peanut or tree nut ingredients, and the production facility where it is produced does not make any peanut-containing products,” it added.

“While we have found no evidence of peanuts or tree nuts in the product at this point, in an abundance of caution to safeguard consumers, Odwalla is recalling this product while continuing to investigate the cause of the reactions,” the spokesperson said.

Similar recall in Canada

It urged such consumers not to consume the drink, and said they should return products to the point of purchase for a refund.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is also monitoring a recall in that country, and Odwalla’s importer across the border, Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada, also issued a recall notice on behalf of the firm via the agency.

Odwalla said there had been no Canadian reports of adverse reactions to the product – known in the US as Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monster – which is packaged in 355ml bottles with ‘enjoy by’ dates prior to and including May 23 2012 and UPC code 014054135892.

It said it was also recalling batches in Canada because consumers allergic to peanuts and tree nuts in the US experienced the reactions, but stressed again that the production facility where Odwalla Chocolate Protein was produced did not manufacture peanut-containing products.

Odwalla said: “[The beverage] contains dairy and soy ingredients, to which some consumers are allergic. However, the presence [of such ingredients] is clearly disclosed on the product label by the statement that the product ‘contains soy and milk protein’. 

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