OAKLAND COUNTY (WJRT) (10/29/2018) - An Oakland County Health Division employee's work led to a national recall of curry powder that contains significant amounts of lead.
The investigation started when a child tested high for blood lead levels. A sanitarian began investigating foods the child ate and discovered the problem with 7-ounce plastic jars of Baraka curry power and hot curry powder.
The sanitarian's findings were forwarded to the Michigan departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture and Rural Development, which confirmed the presence of lead in the powders.
The Oakland County Health Department says it has found traces of lead in imported foods, especially spices, in the past.
“This national recall is a result of cooperation among county, state and federal agencies along with the food distributor, importer and manufacturer,” said Senior Public Health Sanitarian Richard Peresky. “The field testing sanitarians perform is merely the first step in a sequence of events that lead to a voluntary national recall.”
UBC Food Distributors Inc. is voluntarily recalling 7-ounce plastic jars of Barak hot curry powder and curry powder with UPC codes 822514265566 and 822514265535, respectively.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the importer who brought the powder to the U.S. are contacting the manufacturer about the situation. In the meantime, health officials are urging anyone with the products to discard them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Eating the powder could result in excessive blood lead levels, which causes cognitive problems.
The Oakland County Health Division did not release information about the condition of the child with excessive blood lead levels.