Giant Eagle's Chocolate Santas alerted for undeclared peanuts

On Dec. 28, supermarket chain Giant Eagle released an allergy alert via the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's website. The release pertained to Candy Place Chocolate Santas products sold in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland beginning on Oct. 1, 2013. Although Giant Eagle didn't produce the candies, the manufacturer, George J. Howe Company, also released a contact number for consumers with problems. In addition, the chain said that customers would receive complete refunds upon returning the candies to any Giant Eagle market.

According to the release, the affected products were labeled as being filled with peanut butter, but they failed to list peanuts in their ingredients. The FDA noted that such products could be hazardous materials to consumers with peanut allergies; those who ate the candy could experience severe allergic reactions that might result in hospitalization or even fatalities.

Reports said that the affected 11-ounce candies included a number of flavor varieties, such as peanut butter, caramel and chocolate. Although 1,100 customers in those three states were known to have purchased the items, no adverse reactions had been reported at the time of the release. It is unknown, however, if any of these seasonal items were bought as gifts for others and caused illnesses elsewhere.

Products that have unlabeled allergen ingredients can cause serious medical issues for consumers. These individuals may end up spending significant periods in the hospital after eating foods they didn't even know were dangerous, and the costs they incur in care facilities can place their families under significant strain. Young people who become sick may be more susceptible to fatal side effects. Attorneys may be able to help families offset the costs of consuming defective products by tracking down recall notices or initiating lawsuits on the victims' behalf.

Source: FDA, "Giant Eagle Issues Allergy Alert On Undeclared Peanut Allergen In Candy Place Chocolate Santas", December 28, 2013

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