Organic Quinoa Withdrawn from the Market Due to Ochratoxin Risk, What It Is and the Affected Lots

Five organic quinoa lots have been withdrawn from the market due to the detection of ochratoxin above limits prescribed by law. This was reported by the Conad supermarket chain, which issued a recall notice for the cereal sold and produced specifically for its stores. This is a precautionary recall because, according to the cooperative company active in large-scale retail trade, the microtoxin limits were found to be higher than expected after an internal check.

Organic Quinoa Withdrawn, The Affected Lots

The recall notice concerns organic quinoa under the Verso Natura Conad brand, a brand sold only in Conad stores. These are cereal packages that were produced by the company Melandri Gaudenzio Srl, in via Boncellino 120, in Bagnacavallo, in the province of Ravenna.

The lots concerned are those of 300 grams organic quinoa with EAN code 8003170055476 and with specific batch number:

  • 086/24 TCM, with expiry date 03/2025;
  • 107/24 TCM, with expiry date 04/2025;
  • 115/24 TCM, with expiry date 04/2025;
  • 127/24 TCM, with expiry date 05/2025;
  • 135/24 TCM, with expiry date 05/2025.

Conad informs that following internal checks, the presence of ochratoxin exceeding the prescribed limits was detected. Therefore, all customers who are in possession of a package of the aforementioned products have been invited to return it to any Conad point of sale, which will provide a replacement or refund.

What is ochratoxin?

Ochratoxin is a mycotoxin naturally produced by some molds, which can be present in a variety of foods including cereals, preserved meat, fresh and dried fruit, and cheeses. Plant-based foods are the main sources of ochratoxins in the diet, however it is also present in foods of animal origin, especially in pork products and dairy products, where it is mainly related to the surface proliferation of toxin-producing fungi during the ripening and storage phases of the products.

If ingested in large quantities, ochratoxin can cause damage to the entire organismbeing capable of binding to serum albumins in the blood.

Attention to food safety

The one about organic quinoa withdrawn from the market was a direct report by Conad, to reach customers about a product sold exclusively on its shelves. But food safety is an aspect that is put first by the Ministry of Health, which monitors as best it can the quality of products sold in supermarkets and reports withdrawals or recalls through its website.

Specifically, this mechanism is possible thanks to food sector operators (OSA) who have the obligation to inform their customers of any non-compliance found in the foods they place on the market and to withdraw a product from the market if it is not in compliance.

In addition to the recall, if the product has already been sold to the consumer, the Osa must provide for the recall, that is, it must inform consumers about the risky products, also by means of signs to be placed in the points of sale, and publish the recall in the specific area of ​​the Ministry of Health portal.