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Schwebel Bakery finds listeria, withdraws some products


Published: Wed, July 23, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.

photo

The Schwebel Baking Co. on Midlothian Boulevard on Tuesday voluntarily halted production and withdrew some products from the marketplace.

By KALEA HALL

khall@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

An investigation continues to determine the extent of a bacteria that had Schwebel Baking Co. halt production and voluntarily withdraw certain products from the marketplace in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky.

The bacteria – a strain of listeria – was found during a routine environmental assessment of the Youngstown bakery.

Listeria is a naturally occurring bacteria that can be found in any place where there is an accumulation of moisture. Some forms can cause infections in young children, the elderly and others with weakened immune systems. Other forms are benign.

It was discovered after a positive test for the bacteria came back, and the Food and Drug Administration was informed Tuesday, said Ashley McDonald, public relations officer for the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Consumers can identify the products affected by the code located near the bottom of the best-buy date.

“If the code begins with the letter ‘A,’ the product is a part of the voluntary withdrawal,” a company release said. “Anyone who has products in their possession that are part of the voluntary withdrawal should not consume them and should discard them or return them to where they were purchased.”

McDonald said the swabs that tested positive for the bacteria were not in “areas where food was.”

“So far, we have no indication it is in the product,” McDonald said. “[The company] has been very proactive.”

“Although there is no evidence at this point that any of our consumers or products have been impacted, we are taking this action as a precautionary measure to assure that our products are safe,” said Paul Schwebel, company president.

The FDA, the primary organization working with the bakery, would not comment further, but did say “it’s an ongoing investigation.”

In addition to the voluntary withdrawal of products, the company ­— which has been in existence since 1906 — also placed all products prepared for shipment on hold.

The company operates four bakeries in Ohio, and Youngstown is the only bakery impacted by this event.

On Tuesday, production was halted at the Midlothian Boulevard bakery, said Vince Bevacqua, company spokesman.

“We don’t know when [production] will resume,” Bevacqua said Tuesday evening.

He said there have been no layoffs in terms of the workforce while the company works with the FDA, saying the company “found [employees] other work to do.”

There have been listeria recalls this year in a number of products including fruit, lettuce, cheese, ham, peanut butter, chicken, salsa, hummus, ice cream and seafood, according to Listeria Blog, a website that tracks listeria recalls.

A recent recall due to listeria that gained national attention was issued by Wawona Packing Co. of Cutler, Calif. The company voluntarily recalled certain lots of peaches, nectarines and plums packed between June 1 and July 12.

Some of the companies affected by this national recall included Wegmans Food Markets Inc., Trader Joe’s and Costco.

Listeria Blog lists a total of 24 listeria-related recalls this year, and only one related to bread.

The bread recall occurred involving Federated Co-operatives Ltd., a Canadian company, on March 21 and included the company’s garlic bread and garlic/cheese bread, along with Market Town Co-op Pizza Bread products.

Testing for listeria is common in bread, biscuits and similar products.

A study published in the journal Food Control stated that bread-feeding machines, slicers, conveyor belts and water hosts are areas of a plant at risk for listeria contamination.

Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women, according to the FDA.

Schwebel is directing consumers to call them directly at 1-800-860-2867 if they have been affected by the products or to visit the company’s website for more information at schwebels.com.

Contributor: Burton Speakman, staff writer.


Comments

1Askmeificare(700 comments)posted 2 months ago

The schwebel baking company recalls are getting more and more serious.

Unfortunately the Vindicator author, Hall, chooses to seemingly group cases of Listeria, a very serious form of bacteria, as almost common in industry.

The author, I believe, has forgotten that schwebels baking company serves our community, and many others, and must not downplay the harsh realities of individuals with weakened immune systems may die if ingesting schwebels bread affected with this Listeria.

Additionally, the author seemingly has neglected to more informative with regards that schwebel baking company manufactures bread under the giant eagle brand name as well as others, as reported by CBS News Pittsburgh.

With a situation as very, very serious as this is, I would have expected the Vindicator and reporter K. Hall, to be MORE informative to the readers it is inherently serving and less 'mafia ring kissing' to the corporations that purchase advertising.

Because I seemingly cannot trust Vindicator reporting on local food recall issues and the duplicity of the schwebel baking company bread recalls, from now on for my family and I, it's Nickels Bread Products.

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2madison2011(92 comments)posted 2 months ago

love that Pesce Bread!

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3walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 2 months ago

askmeificare,
The article was informative and well-written. I don't see any duplicity. First, and most importantly, the bacteria was found in non-production areas through routine testing by swabbing. There are no reports of food poisoning that would have been much worse. Listeria contamination in products that are heated, such as bread, are not very common like those in fruit and vegetables, which are consumed raw. SChwebel's is a good local company that produces good products and treats its employees pretty good. And, if you are surprised that they baked Giant Eagle bread, then you would be amazed at just whom they actually produce private label products for. ALL private label products are produced under contract with large companies. Do you really think Giant Eagle has its own bakery for bread, or chicken for eggs, or dairy farms for milk and cheese?

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4madison2011(92 comments)posted 2 months ago

Giant Eagle does have a bakery that makes the bread in the store ??

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5scheetz(1 comment)posted 2 months ago

Schwebels serves several states as mentioned and they did explain Listeria and ask for anyone affected to call. You act like they were trying to cover something up.This happens everywhere nationwide- meat, peanut butter (remember ANYTHING with peanut butter, even ice cream with ripples in it had to be checked or thrown out?)

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6DwightK(1256 comments)posted 2 months ago

The article is informative and it doesn't seem like anything is being covered up. Schwebels appears to be doing all the correct things, such as self reporting. I hope no one is ill and that Schwebels can move on after they've fixed the problem.

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7james3177(1 comment)posted 2 months ago

As a contractor who has worked at many bakery locations across the United States.. Schewbels sanitary standards are impeccable! I've worked for all the major bakeries and Schewbels facilities are by far cleaner than them all. You can eat off the floors they are fanatical when it comes to sanitation!. I'm sure they are hard at work fixing this problem I wont hesitate to buy their product when they are back up and running.This company has been around along time without one recall. That does not happen by coincidence

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8keithp(10 comments)posted 2 months ago

I suppose the Ohio Department of Agriculture seems resources should be expended regulating businesses where no record of any food safety issues have happened. For information on the unnecessary, duplicate (licensing and sanitation regulation), and discriminatory(in favor of out of state wineries) regulation of Ohio's wineries by the Ohio Department of Agriculture or to take action on Ohio Senate bill 32, please see: www.facebook.com/FreeTheWineries or www.FreeTheWineries.com - See more at: http://www.vindy.com/news/2014/jul/22...

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9oldskool(97 comments)posted 2 months ago

Southside res, You are clearly upset at the company for some reason, more than likely could not perform a simple task for a decent wage. Your facts are very incorrect as well. Keep it real if you are going to downgrade something at least know what your talking about. I have a good friend who has just retired from there after 37 great years, the past plant mgr left on his own accord and is still visiting the plant at a different capacity, and a supervisor did not quit on the spot for not writing up an employee that was not using proper equipment to protect your food. get the facts right Joe

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10ailierdroit(106 comments)posted 2 months ago

I knew that 'askmeificare' was blowing smoke by implying that this wasn't the first recall. That's defamation to make up crap like that with no evidence to support it. That's pretty disgusting (and personally, I don't associate Nickels with quality).

To that end, 'Southside', since when do we tie wage to the quality of an employee? Not everyone is made for high-paying industries, but that doesn't mean they can't be proficient and do quality work in food manufacturing (God forbid, they don't). Or do you want to pay $7.00 for a loaf of bread? And kudos to him for firing a plant manager for bringing in a shot gun. Safety first; what brought us to this thread in the first place?

And you wonder why the brain drain is so prevalent in this area? Narrow-minded, irrational behavior and lack of common sense from people like the both of you represent way too many people here and why this area could never sustain healthy high-paying industries outside of healthcare and government. 'WalterSobchak' is the only beacon of sanity and common sense within these threads.

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11Ianacek(909 comments)posted 2 months ago

I wasn't concerned until I saw the flood of defensiveness that greeted Askme's comments , that made me do some research .
The Giant Eagle comment is quite valid . According to the CBS story , all the bread products were pulled from shelves and some of it contained meat and potato , not just bread.
Walter offers the comment that Schwebel's employees are well treated . While this is irrelevant to the listeria investigation, this is opinion , not necessarily fact . e.g. A woman's comment in another news story today
"Schwebels is a horrible company to work for!! Not a family friendly company." . Others may have a differenct opinion , but that's all it is .
Vindy does appear to be playing the issue down a little , compared to other news outlets .

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