Route 11 Potato Chips affected by Valley Milk recall

Route 11 Potato Chips has recalled certain batches of its sour cream and chive flavored chips in response to the discovery that the company’s seasoning mixture for those chips, produced by a different company, was found to contain an ingredient tied to the Valley Milk Products salmonella scare.

Route 11, based in Mount Jackson, sells to roughly 2,000 wholesale customers including local supermarkets and delis and specialty shops around the country.

The batches in question include Route 11 Sour Cream & Chive potato chips, 2 ounce, UPC 4493500062 with best-by dates between 2-9-17 and 6-10-17 and Route 11 Sour Cream & Chive potato chips, 6 ounce, UPC 4493500061 with best-by dates between 2-9-17 and 6-10-17, according to a release from Martin’s and Giant food stores, Route 11 retailers who are participating in the recall.

The Food and Drug Administration determined that the suspect ingredient, non-fat dry milk powder, was prepared on equipment with improper sanitation, resulting in an environment where salmonella could occur. No finished product either in the milk powder at Valley Milk or chips from Route 11 have been found to contain salmonella and no instances of sickness have been reported.

Sarah Cohen, president and founder of Route 11 Potato Chips, explained that the breadth of the supply chain that drives the food business can result in situations like the one currently plaguing her company.

“We’re all about food safety here at Route 11 and this is just one of those moments that you never want to have to deal with but that are going to sometime happen,” she said. “We try to control everything we can control but this was kind of out of our control.”

Cohen said the recall will affect roughly 9,000 cases of sour cream and chive chips in various bag sizes.

Approximately 30 Martin’s stores were affected by the recall, said Samantha Krepps, public and community relations manager for Martin’s and Giant food stores.

“Because food safety is a priority for Martin’s, when a product recall is announced by the supplier or government, we make sure we are getting information to our customers as quickly as possible,” Krepps stated in an email. “First, we remove the affected product from the shelf, and prepare our store teams for any customer inquiries or concerns. Second, we place a UPC “block” on the sale of any recalled product at the check-out to prevent recalled items from being inadvertently sold to customers.”

Krepps also explained how Martin’s notifies customers of recalls.

“For Class I recalls, we use our loyalty card data to call customers who have purchased a recalled product to inform them to either dispose of the product or return it to their local Martin’s for a refund,” she stated. “We also issue a press release to the media with product recall information which is then populated to our website and social media.”

The recall marks Route 11’s first, and Cohen said that she’s optimistic that holiday business won’t be too severely impacted.

“It definitely hurts because it’s not good publicity to be in the news for something like this but I think we’ll survive,” she said. “This is one of the challenges about the food business, and this is why we keep our plant so pristine and clean because we don’t want to end up in a situation like this and unfortunately we did because someone else in the chain wasn’t being as vigilant.”

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com.