Trader Joe’s has issued a recall of a brand of black bean tamales, the sixth item that the popular grocery chain has recalled since July.
The company said last week that it had recalled packages of Texas Tamale Company Gourmet Black Bean Tamales because they might contain undeclared milk.
“Individuals with an allergy or heightened sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products,” the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement.
The affected tamales were filled with white cheese and hatch green chiles instead of black beans, the F.D.A. said.
Trader Joe’s said that no illnesses had been reported in connection with the latest recall and that all potentially affected products had been removed from sale.
Customers have been warned in recent weeks that other products might have been contaminated with rocks, insects and metal.
In July, Trader Joe’s said that it had removed cookies because they may have contained rocks and its Unexpected Broccoli Cheddar Soup because it may have contained insects. On Aug. 17, Trader Joe’s said that its multigrain crackers with sunflower and flax seeds were recalled because of potential metal contamination.
The recalls have led to some concern among fans of the grocery chain, which has more than 500 stores across the country and is known among loyal customers as a hub for unique snacks and ready-to-eat meals. Its popularity has even spawned Trader Joe’s food review Instagram accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers.
Nakia Rohde, a spokeswoman for Trader Joe’s, said in a statement on Wednesday that “we err on the side of caution and are proactive in addressing issues. We voluntarily take action quickly and aggressively — investigating potential problems and removing a product from sale if there is any doubt about its safety or quality.”
She added that the company does not “wait for regulatory agencies to tell us what to do,” and that it shares news of recalls through in-store signs, on its website and via email alerts.
“The close timing of these recalls is coincidental,” Ms. Rohde said.
Darin Detwiler, an associate professor of food safety and corporate social responsibility at Northeastern University, said that “in a way, it’s good” that Trader Joe’s recalls are so public and transparent because “it’s a sign that things are working.”
“Trader Joe’s is doing a great job in making sure that if they have to do a recall, not only do they do it, but they communicate it as well as they can,” Dr. Detwiler said.
He added that such recalls are frequent in grocery stores, but stores with name brands like Trader Joe’s receive more attention. Dr. Detwiler also noted that the source of the recalls has been from Trader Joe’s suppliers, which are smaller and typically not associated with other stores.
Still, he said, most of the items people buy at Trader Joe’s are ready-to-eat foods or commercially packaged goods, which means there are more manufacturing and processing steps involved in those products. Those extra steps mean there are “more opportunities for there to be” errors like rocks or metal ending up in a product.
“The fact that this company is being as public and transparent as they are is a very good sign,” Dr. Detwiler said.
He added, “This just happens to be a bad string of hits for them.”
Eduardo Medina is a reporter covering breaking news. More about Eduardo Medina
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