SOUTH AFRICA/BOTSWANA – Online retailer Woolworths has announced a recall of its Smoked Chicken Viennas, Cocktail Chicken Viennas, and Halaal Smoked Chicken Viennas with the sell-by date of 27 May 2023 due to cross-contamination with an allergen.

A defect in the production line resulted in cross-contamination of milk protein between Chicken Viennas and Chicken and Cheese Viennas.

“We, along with our suppliers, proactively manage and prevent contamination of food, and through routine quality control tests we discovered a fault in a production line, which resulted in cross-contamination of milk protein between Chicken Viennas and Chicken and Cheese Viennas,” the retailer said in a statement.

The company issued the recall as a precautionary measure, especially for consumers allergic to cow’s milk.

“While the cheese may not be obvious through taste or visible in the product, we are removing all the products from our shelves. Customers who have an allergy to cow’s milk may experience an adverse reaction to trace amounts of milk protein,” it said.

With a sell-by date of May 27, 2023, the Woolworths chicken viennas are prepared in four different varieties and distributed in Botswana and South Africa.

Customers who have already purchased the products should return them to their local retailer for full reimbursement.

Smoked Chicken Vienna 1kg 6009195431174, Smoked Chicken Vienna 500g 6009195431181, Cocktail Chicken Vienna 375g 6009214259499, and Halaal Chicken Vienna 500g 6009217223374 are among the products that are being recalled.

“Woolworths prides itself on exceptionally high standards, and we go to great lengths, with very strict protocols within a rigorous food safety management process, to ensure all food we produce, package, and sell is the quality our customers expect.

“Food safety is critically important to us, and the well-being of our customers is our first priority,” Woolworths said.

Milk allergies

Food allergies stem from the host’s immune system. If an individual has a milk allergy, the body’s immune system responds to a specific milk protein, triggers an immune response, and attempts to neutralize the triggering protein, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

The next time that the body encounters the protein, the immune response recognizes the protein. It triggers the immune system to mount a response, including the release of histamine and other immune mediators. This release of chemicals causes the signs and symptoms of cow’s milk allergy.

Skin reactions like an itchy rash or swelling of the lips, face, or eyes; digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, colic, diarrhea, or constipation; and hay fever-like symptoms like a runny or blocked nose are just a few of the symptoms that can be caused by a cow’s milk allergy.

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