Consumers who follow an up-to-date recipe for homemade pickled products can avoid the risk of illness from Clostridium botulinum. But the risk of botulism poisoning from improperly prepared pickled products does exist, as evidenced by a recall of pickled products by Homemade of Leavenworth.
On July 14, 2015, Homemade of Leavenworth (WA) recalled all pickle and sauce products manufactured by the company. The pH level on products tested by the Washington State Department of Agriculture was high enough to allow the growth of Clostridium botulinum.
The recalled products were sold from small retailers and fruit stands in Chelan and Douglas counties in Washington State. Recalled products include Bread and Butter Pickles, Icicle Pickles, Pickled Beets, Chili Sauce, and BBQ Sauce (lite, medium, hot and horseradish). The Food and Drug Administration has published complete details of the recall.
Wisconsin has a vibrate industry of small processors manufacturing and selling boutique pickles, sauces, salsas, and jellied fruit products. Consumers are urged to remember that most manufacturers of canned products in the state of Wisconsin are subject to license by the state. Licensed processors are required to have their recipes for canning approved, and to test, and record, the pH of each batch of pickles, salsa, and sauce that they manufacture. These licensing safeguards will help keep Wisconsin residents safe from foodborne illness. Consumers who have questions about manufactured foods for sale should contact the Division of Food Safety of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
Consumers are also reminded that there is one exemption from the licensing requirement. Wisconsin has a ‘Pickle Bill‘ that allows a person to manufacture in their home kitchen, and sell at a farmers’ market or community event in Wisconsin, canned fruits or acidified vegetables that have a pH of 4.6 or below. The person is limited to sales of $5,000 per year of food manufactured. This licensing exemption applies only to canned pickles and fruits, not to bakery items, spices, etc. A person selling without a license is required to post a sign at the place of sale stating: ‘These canned goods are homemade and not subject to state inspection.’ And, each container of food sold must be properly labeled and include the statement ‘This product was made in a private home not subject to state licensing or inspection.’ These statements are designed to help keep the public informed and food-safe. More facts about the ‘Pickle Bill‘ can be found online. Stay food-safe, Barb