4 pasta brands with questionable food-grade practices – Eat This Not That

Traditional Italian cuisine is best served around the family table. And although homemade pasta is hard to beat, some home cooks still opt for dry pasta as a more convenient option. A quick trip to the grocery store should be enough to get a quick and easy meal… Yet a growing number of international brands are raising concerns about food quality and safety.

Over the past few weeks, some pasta companies and makers have landed in hot water over reports of bugs, product recalls and potentially harmful chemicals found in some brands. Below is a handy list of brands to watch the next time you’re in the pasta aisle at the grocery store.

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Italian food company Buitoni found itself at the center of controversy just months ago after accusations of food contamination made headlines. Founded in 1827, the brand is best known for its pastas, sauces and pizzas. However, the French authorities have recently launched an investigation into Buitoni’s frozen pizza who allegedly killed two children and sickened more than 50 other children and one adult.

Food industry news site food preparation speculated that the scandal could stem from potential shortcomings in factory food safety and production in the French town of Caudry, quoting pictures of “things like a worm on a production line and spilled food on a floor…”.

In response, Buitoni’s parent company, Nestlé, noted that the photos were taken years ago, and CEO Mark Schneider defended Nestlé’s food safety efforts. “Let me just tell you that these are old photos from 2020. They are not representative of the strict health and quality standards of any Nestlé factory nor are they related to the current situation,” said Schneider. In addition, the CEO of Nestlé France, Christophe Cornu, recently announced a financial support fund for the families concerned.

san remo spaghetti
Courtesy of San Remo

Conversations around San Remo have buzzed online about its food security or potential lack thereof. The Australian pasta companyfounded in 1936, offers regular, gluten-free and vegan versions of pasta, proudly claiming to be “Australia’s #1 pasta brand”, on its Facebook page.

However, a thread in the r/newzealand subreddit revealed some consumer concerns about biohazards. In the thread, a user found “a few nasty surprises” in the form of live insects. When asked if the pasta was San Remo of the local supermarket Countdown Henderson, the confirmed original poster both the brand and the store to be the culprits. Other reviewers shared that they experienced the same ordeal when buying pasta from this store, as well as others Reddit Posts. Those of the wire predicted that the bugs were most likely weevilsinsects that are often found in dry goods such as flour, cereals and pasta.

In yet another case, a user of the r/auckland subreddit spotted 15 bugs in their San Remo Penne pasta and it continued to made the headlines. Among other stakeholders, one noted that “it’s actually very likely that the packaging broke and the infestation happened in a warehouse (theirs or a supermarket’s).”

whole foods organic tomato basil pasta sauce
Courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Since 1980, Whole Foods has built a reputation for providing wholesome foods with a focus on sustainable agriculture. Whole Foods Market’s 365 house brand offers a variety of items, including pasta sauces like its Organic Tomato Basil Sauce for Pasta it’s vegan, organic and dairy-free. While some of the ingredients looked good on the surface, other potentially hidden ingredients could be cause for concern.

According to an article by Sierra Club magazine. The The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines PFAS as a group of chemicals that can “decompose very slowly and can accumulate in people, animals and the environment over time”. The same PFAS are also found in fire fighting foam, non-stick cookware and drinking water.

The EPA has found that high exposure to PFAS can lead to a number of health risks, including reduced fertility, effects on children’s development, and an increased risk of “certain cancers, including cancers of the prostate, kidneys and testicles.

In 2018, Whole Foods ended the use of packaging containing PFASbut a march 2022 consumer reports the article found detectable organic fluorine in soup containers. In response to the article’s findings, Whole Foods stated that it “does not make PFAS-free claims, but has worked to prevent the intentional addition of PFAS to packaging.”

creamy pasta sauce carbonara dolmio sautéed

The company Dolmio has been launched in the 1980s and offers a range of pasta sauces. Dolmio operates under its parent company March, Incorporated– the same company that produces Snickers, Skittles, M&M’s and Uncle Ben’s.

Just a few weeks ago, Mars and Dolmio made headlines after announcing a recall on Dolmio Carbonara Pasta Sauce Mix and Carbonara Pasta Sauce Packets. According Food Standards Agency, the recall was due to traces of soy which were not on the label. On the site’s ‘Allergy Alert’ page, the article mentions that “This means that the products pose a potential health risk to anyone with a soy allergy. [/soy].”

In June 2022 Press releaseMars Food UK advises that “anyone with a soy allergy should not consume these products”, and added that those affected should contact customer service for a full refund.

Alex Perry

Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Alex Perry joins “Eat This, Not That!” as a freelance writer. Read more