The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is alerting consumers to avoid eating Milk Chocolate Vanilla Bean Sauce from Groveland Confections after state laboratory testing showed this canned product failed to meet the minimum safe threshold for acidity. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, eating canned or pickled products that do not have a pH level of lower than 4.6 and are improperly processed can lead to serious illness including botulism poisoning.
There are no reports of illness linked to consumption of the product. MDA issued the advisory due to the risk of contamination with Clostridium bacteria known to produce potentially deadly botulinum toxin.
The Milk Chocolate Vanilla Bean Sauce is sold in 6 oz. glass jars and carries a Groveland Confections label. Consumers are asked to throw away any of the product they may have at home. The problem was discovered during routine sampling of product by MDA. Botulinum toxin is produced by Clostridium bacteria under certain circumstances, such as the low-oxygen, moderate pH conditions that can be present in improperly canned products. The manufacturer is cooperating fully with the MDA investigation.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, botulinum toxin can cause double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. If untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis of the arms, legs, trunk and respiratory muscles. In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days after eating a contaminated food.
Consumers who may have become ill after eating the product should contact their health care provider.