On Sunday, July 3, Australian firm 1 Finger Pty Ltd. announced the recall of four variants of Lay's potato chips over possible allergen risks. The announcement of the recall was released in tandem with Big 8 Food and Food Standards Australia New Zealand, which is the government agency that regulates the standards of food manufacturing in the two countries.
This recall was limited to Asian grocery store retailer and wholesaler Big 8 Food in Victoria. As per the announcement documents:
"The recall is due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (milk, wheat or soy)."
Four separate flavors, mostly in 70-gram sizes, were affected by the recall. They include:
- Lay's Cucumber Flavor best before 26/07/2022
- Lay's Roasted Garlic Oyster Flavor best before 29/07/2022
- Lay's Roasted Fish Flavor best before 29/07/2022
- Lay's Fried Crab Flavor best before 05/12/2022
It appears that the packaging of the chips did not include a disclaimer of their allergen contents. As of now, it is not known if the recalled products will be brought back with improved labeling or will be discontinued by Big 8 Food and 1 Finger Pty Ltd.
In their press release, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) further mentioned:
"CFS is investigating whether the affected product has been imported to Hong Kong and is contacting the relevant authority for further information. The preliminary investigation did not identify local sale or import of the affected product."
Consuming Lay's flavors under recall may cause mild to severe allergic reaction
The products may contain milk, wheat, or soy, which were not listed on the label, meaning the chips pose a potentially life-threatening risk to consumers with allergies. Their consumption may result in an allergic reaction, ranging from mild to severe.
Food Standards Australia & New Zealand further warned customers with sensitivity to the allergens not to consume the four varieties of Lay’s potato chips. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction to any of the allergens (wheat, soy, or milk) may cause the affected individual to break into hives and have an itchy feeling around the mouth, with swelling of the lips or tongue.
They may further experience shortness of breath, nausea, abdominal cramps, and more. During such conditions, the blood pressure drops and airways get constricted, which causes difficulty in breathing. All three allergens can also cause anaphylaxis, which releases chemicals that push the body into shock.
In case of such a reaction, a dose of epinephrine (adrenaline) through an EpiPen, aka Epinephrine auto-injector, may be administered.
Customers with milk, wheat, or soy allergies are advised to return the products to the place of purchase for a refund. As of now, it is not known whether discarded products will also be refunded if a valid purchase receipt is shown.