HEIDELBERG, Germany — Due to salmonella contamination in one component of Meals Ready to Eat and Unitized Group Rations-Express, consumers and end users have been advised to not drink Dairy Shake powder until further notice.
According to a Department of Defense-wide food alert issued June 26 by the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Dairy Shake powder fortified with calcium and vitamin D should be removed from those rations in a manner to ensure it will not be accidentally consumed.
Europe Regional Veterinary Command and Defense Commissary Agency officials said Tuesday that MREs are not generally commercially available in Europe. However, because MREs have a long shelf life, there is a possibility that some people may have bought the field rations elsewhere.
The DOD guidance was issued after the voluntary recall by the manufacturers of non-fat dry milk used in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and strawberry-banana Dairy Shake powder.
The Food and Drug Administration has determined a Minnesota dairy cooperative may have shipped non-fat dry milk, fruit stabilizers, whey protein and gum products potentially adulterated with salmonella to their commercial customers between June 2007 and June 2009.
Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weak immune systems. Healthy people who contract salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Most healthy people recover from salmonella infections without treatment.
In rare circumstances, contracting salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses, such as arterial infections (infected aneurysms), infection of the lining of the heart and arthritis.
The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia is working with the FDA, Dairy Shake manufacturers and operational rations assemblers to determine specific lots of operational rations that may contain Dairy Shake powder with the potentially adulterated non-fat dairy creamer. DSCP will issue follow-up guidance with specific lot numbers, codes and disposition instructions when the investigation is complete.
There have been no known incidents of illness from consuming the operational ration Dairy Shake powder. According to the guidance, the remainder of the MRE/UGR-E menu is consumable and should not be discarded or destroyed.
Recall details are posted in a June 28 news release entitled “Company recalls various products due to potential salmonella contamination” on the FDA Web site at www.fda.gov under the “News and Events” heading.
(Courtesy of Europe Regional Medical Command)