Saturday, November 27

Sugar recall leaves cookie business in crumbs


A major sugar recall is hitting companies in a big way, and those who trade sugar have to ditch it in large quantities.

The first Mustache Milk & Cookie Bar store opened in 2012.

The first Mustache Milk & Cookie Bar store opened in 2012.
Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

The recall was issued after routine tests found a low level of lead contamination and affects unprocessed and brown sugar products from Chelsea, Pams and Woolworths brands sold since October.

The Ministry of Primary Industries said the risk was low.

However, Deanna Yang expected to lose more than $ 50,000 on her cookie business, Mustache, as she had to cancel orders and stockpile, which equates to thousands of cookies.

He said it was “really devastating” and his “heart skipped a beat” when he learned of the recall.

That prompted her to abruptly close her stores in Auckland and online on Friday morning and they would likely stay that way until next week.

“I’m a bit worried. Obviously, it has been difficult for hospitality during Covid, this loss of sales is really going to affect us.”

Most of the sugary products affected were of a general consumption size, between 500 g and 4 kg.

But it also included Chelsea’s 25kg bag of soft brown sugar, something her business chewed on and currently had around 30 bags.

It would take Mustache “a long time to recover from this,” Yang said.

Deanna Yang, Director of Cookies, Cookie Bar and Mustache Milk.

Mustache, Deanna Yang’s cookie business, abruptly closed Friday morning after a major sugar recall.
Photo: Luke McPake / The Wireless

They had to start from scratch and she was shocked to learn of the recall only through a media report around 11 a.m., despite the advice being released last night, she said.

“In the past, we have had a recall for some chocolate, but MPI called us right away and other suppliers called us.”

But she “wasn’t sure” why no one contacted them about this recall “with Chelsea being such a big brand.”

New Zealand Sugar, which is Chelsea Sugar, was not available for an interview, but said in a statement that it contacted New Zealand Food Safety as soon as a potential problem was identified.

You still don’t know how much sugar will have to be thrown away, how much it will cost, or if there will be a shortage of raw and brown sugar.

The contamination appears to have occurred along the supply chain on a bulk ship delivery to New Zealand, the ship was previously used to transport other materials.

Chelsea Sugar New Zealand is recalling raw sugar due to low lead contamination.

Products affected by the sugar recall include three brands.
Photo: Supplied / MPI

Vincent Arbuckle, deputy director general of the Ministry of Primary Industries, said that was not good enough.

“[New Zealand Sugar’s] I’m not happy with that either, so they’ll be doing their research. “

Arbuckle said it at least confirmed it was “an isolated event.”

Lead levels were so low that it would only be a concern if someone consumed “the contaminated product over a long period of time,” he said.

Arbuckle didn’t think that people should worry about lead poisoning symptoms “at all.”

“This is a precautionary measure,” he said.

“All producers monitor for lead and other contaminants on a regular basis. If they identify something, they act quickly.”

There were some environmental occurrences of lead, but it should never be detectable, Arbuckle said.

Consumers are asked to return contaminated products for a refund.

A list of the batch numbers of the affected products is available at the MPI website, with those lot numbers printed on the product packaging.

Refined white sugar was not affected by the recall.


www.rnz.co.nz

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