WATERTOWN — Another grocer with north country stores has voluntarily recalled American cheese sourced from one of Great Lakes Cheese’s Wisconsin plants because it may contain metal fragments.
Price Chopper and Market 32 Supermarkets, owned by Golub Corp., Schenectady, announced Tuesday it recalled white and yellow American cheese processed and packaged by Great Lakes Cheese for “the possible presence of small metal foreign matter on the surface.”
The recall encompasses the sliced to order, pre-sliced grab ’n go and “cheese ends” sourced from Great Lakes Cheese and sold in the retailer’s store delis under the Market 32 label, as well as other deli products using the cheese, including various burgers, breakfast sandwiches, and breakfast combos by the Handheld American Club.
It follows the Oct. 9 voluntary recall from Hannaford Supermarkets, Scarborough, Maine, and Oct. 11 voluntary recall from Publix, Lakeland, Fla., for their white American cheese brands, both of which source them from Great Lakes Cheese, Hiram, Ohio. Hannaford said its product may contain metal fragments, while Publix said its may have “foreign material.” No incidents have been reported.
Great Lakes Cheese has a plant in Adams, but plant manager Nathan Pistner said the affected product is derived from the company’s plant in La Crosse, Wis. A company spokesperson said the Food and Drug Administration recommended a voluntary withdrawal of the product, challenging the retailers’ use of the term “recall,” following a third-party investigation. They said the investigation concluded that “there are no risks to human health.” The issue only stemmed from one product line for five-pound loaves of American cheese, which can be both white and yellow.
“We already resolved the issue as soon as we discovered it,” the spokesperson said. “We have been and will always be unwavering in our commitment to quality.”
Great Lakes Cheese manufactures and packages various cheese products to several retailers and food service operations, supplying 25 percent of packaged cheese in America, according to its website.
When asked why it chose not to issue its own announcement, the spokesperson said the private label cheese manufacturer “tries to keep very quiet” for its customer retailers and their brands, although it did inform its clients about the American cheese issue before a few like Price Chopper and Publix announced their recalls. She declined to disclose any other chains that may have been affected.
Mona Golub, vice president of public relations and consumer services for Golub Corp., said while the FDA deemed the necessary action was a voluntary removal, the decision from her company and other retailers to announce voluntary recalls indicated a difference in opinion between them and Great Lakes Cheese. Golub Corp. notified AdvantEdge card customers who have purchased Market 32 brand American cheese sourced from Great Lakes by phone.
“We had expected (Great Lakes Cheese) would give more information to consumers given that the metal fragments, however small or large they were, are connected to the process they oversee,” she said.
Hannaford spokesman Eric Blom said in addition to the announcement, the grocer also notified members of its rewards program about the voluntary recall through email.
“We take these things very seriously. Nothing is more serious than the safety of our customers,” he said.
For more information, customers can visit www.greatlakescheese.com or call (440) 834-2500.