On Friday, February 1st, I reported that Olivier Napa Valley, Inc. was recalling seven production lots of its “Parmesan & Asiago Dip with Garlic & Basil” due to a risk that the product could support growth of Clostridium botulinum. According to the Company’s January 30th press release, the recall was initiated after “...state officials found elevated [pH] levels in the product; which can allow favorable conditions for botulism toxin production.”
The recall announcement appeared both on the California Department of Public Health website and on the FDA website on January 31st. But, even though the recalled products were distributed nationally to Williams-Sonoma retail stores, there has been no mention of this potentially deadly problem in the national media. Furthermore, one of my readers contacted her local Williams-Sonoma store on Friday and learned that they had not been notified of the recall.
While there have not been any illnesses associated with the recalled product, the risk is very real. Oil-packed garlic and other oil-packed foods have been the source of botulism outbreaks in the past. The combination of an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment and mild acidity (pH of 4.6 or higher) creates the perfect conditions for the growth of Clostridium botulinum and production of its deadly neurotoxin. This recall deserves to be publicized every bit as widely as the on-going New Era Canning recall.