An FDA Enforcement Report for the week of November 13, 2013, requested a voluntary recall of Xylanase after the discovery September 30th, citing that products may be contaminated with Chloramphenicol. Enzymes manufactured by Advanced Enzymes in Mumbai, India may result in one of the most widespread recalls of products in history. The incomplete list that follows represents primarily digestive enzymes. More products are being added daily. To date, the FDA has issued no official statement on the scope of the US contamination. http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2013/36355a-eng.php. Not only are dietary supplements affected, but various baked goods, beverages, and animal feed are now contaminated with Chloramphenicol residues that have infiltrated the United States (U.S.), Canada, Japan, and the European Union (EU).
Sales from India to Japan began the chain of contamination, which traveled through the EU and onward. A manufacturing plant in Chino, California (Specialty Enzyme and Biochemicals Company) was the point of entry into the U.S. where the tainted products were released to food and feed manufacturers. This is a call to manufacturers who adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) in the U.S. to hold their suppliers to the same high standards they subscribe to; not trusting in promises but visiting raw material suppliers on site in unscheduled inspections. This is an added expense; however, liability issues come into play in cases such as this one as well so to neglect vetting suppliers is a false economy.
In an era of increased focus on food sourcing, integrity, and transparency in labeling, this is a violation of the highest order adding one of the most dangerous, banned antibiotics to an increasing burden of antibiotic resistance in a general population fully awake to the multiple assaults against them.
Sadly, there has been a lack of media attention in response to one of the largest recalls in recent history and you may still be consuming contaminated product if your supplier lacked the integrity to participate in the voluntary recall.
Chloramphenicol is quite familiar to the National Health Federation (NHF) as we recently attended the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Food (CCRVDF) in August of 2013 to fight to ban this potentially fatal drug in our food supply. Chloramphenicol is a veterinary antibiotic and an unexpected "solution" to sanitizing manufacturing equipment as in the case of this recent contamination in India.
NHF was the only health-freedom organization in attendance at Codex and also the only one with the right to fight against vet residues of drugs in our food, beverage, and nutritional supplement supply and we won! The news release summarizing the results of CCRVDF is at this link on the NHF website: http://www.thenhf.com/article.php?id=3664. At the time of this Codex meeting, it was not common knowledge that India was washing equipment with a soon-to-be contraband, dangerous antibiotic. Had NHF known this, we would have argued against this on your behalf as well.
At CCRVDF, NHF successfully argued to get 9 out of 10 antibiotics banned in the Global food supply entering the U.S. as imports. One of those antibiotics was deadly Chloramphenicol, which is used in imported meat producing animals and aquaculture, primarily shrimp and clams. It is banned in the EU, Canada, and United States, yet illegal use of inexpensive Chloramphenicol to treat seafood products remains a possibility due to its broad-spectrum antibiotic activity. This is a concern as dangerous Chloramphenicol has among listed side effects aplastic anemia leading to leukemia.
Even pro-drug-industry Wikipedia has this to say about this toxic antibiotic, which NHF demanded banned at CCRVDF, "Chloramphenicol... is both cheap and easy to manufacture and it is frequently an antibiotic of choice in the Developing World...The most serious adverse effect associated with Chloramphenicol treatment is bone marrow toxicity, which may occur in two distinct forms: bone marrow suppression, which is a direct toxic effect of the drug and is usually reversible, and aplastic anemia, which is idiosyncratic (rare, unpredictable, and unrelated to dose) and generally fatal."