Thu | Sep 21, 2017

GraceKennedy drops curry supplier

Published:Friday | August 19, 2016 | 8:00 AMSteven Jackson
Andrea Coy, CEO of GraceKennedy Foods - Domestic Division.

Online retailer Amazon has issued a notification that it will drop Caribbean curry products affected by a recall in the United States from its platform.

Here in Jamaica, GraceKennedy Limited, which has four Grace-branded products on the recall list, indicated Wednesday that it has dropped supplier Oriental Packaging Company, and that its local curry is unaffected.

The company said the curry sold in Jamaica is made in Jamaica.

Oriental Packaging Company provides curry to different companies to distribute under their own labels.

The recall last Friday by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) covered 377,000 pounds of curry products spanning various brands. It was initiated due to the presence of lead in some variants of curry products.

"A decision was made earlier this year to change our supply source to ensure to standardise supply source across all markets. The final production from this supplier was April 2016," said Andrea Coy, chief executive officer of GraceKennedy Foods - Domestic.

The products being recalled were packaged in the United States and distributed in overseas markets, said the conglomerate, which also indicated that its local curry goes through different channels.

"These products are sold in the US, Bermuda and Bahamas. The Grace sachet curry powder is processed in Jamaica by our factory, National Processors," said Coy.

GraceKennedy is yet to say which supplier replaced Oriental or what the new arrangements are for distribution of curry to its overseas markets.

The FDA said the recall followed routine sampling by the New York State Health Department, which revealed that the finished products contained lead. The food regulator said Oriental Packing has ceased the production and distribution of the product, while the FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the contamination.

Lead can accumulate in the body over time, and may cause serious and sometimes permanent adverse health consequences. To date, no illnesses have been reported in connection with the products being recalled.

The specific products affected are Blue Mountain Country Mild Curry Powder; Blue Mountain Country Hot Curry Powder; Blue Mountain Country Hot Jamaican Jerk Curry Seasoning; Jamaica Choice Mild; Jamaica Hot Curry Powder; Ocho Rios Brand; Ocho Rios Jamaican Nice Mild Curry Powder; Ocho Rios Spicy Curry Powder; Ocho Rios Jerk Curry Seasoning Mild; Ocho Rios Jerk Curry Seasoning Spicy; Oriental Mild Curry Powder; Oriental Hot Curry Powder; Grace Mild Curry Powder; Grace Hot Curry Powder; Grace Caribbean Curry Powder; and Grace Caribbean Tradition Hot Curry Powder.

Amazon cited procedures for its sellers and buyers who are in contact with the contaminated curry, and announced it would cancel sales of the products.

"Customers who have purchased the affected products through the Amazon website will be sent a notification regarding the recall. This includes customers who have purchased these products from sellers," said Amazon.

The products were sold both through e-commerce channels and retail stores. The FDA advised consumers to dump unused products or return them for refunds.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com