A spokeswoman for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The metal pieces were caused by the failure of processing equipment used to blanch potatoes during manufacture. Investigations into reasons for this equipment failure are currently ongoing.”
The FSA first published a recall notice affecting potato salad and coleslaw lines supplied to Tesco and Sainsbury on May 8.
A further recall announcement followed earlier this week, covering additional lines, such as cottage pies, shepherd’s pies and fish pies supplied to Sainsbury, Waitrose and Morrisons stores.
In a statement, Telford-based Swancote Foods, which is owned by fresh potato supplier Greenvale, said: “Swancote Foods, the Telford based potato processing business, has experienced a potential contamination issue relating to the possible identification of traces of metal being found in one of its products.
“Affected customers have been made aware of the issue and this has resulted in the recall of a number of potato salad and ready meal products.
“Swancote Foods is working closely with its customers to determine the full facts behind this incident and to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Swancote Foods is committed to maintaining the highest standards of food safety and food traceability, and is therefore extremely concerned that the quality of one of its products may have been compromised.”
The business stressed that its pasteurised potato products were unaffected by the issue and that supplies of these had therefore not been disrupted.
“The company expects to resume supply of its fresh cooked potato products shortly and will provide a further update when appropriate,” it added.
When the FSA issued its May 12 recall notice, Jason Feeney, its chief operating officer, said: “The FSA is advising anyone who has bought these products not to eat them and return them to the shop where they were purchased.
“The pieces of metal which may be present are potentially harmful, so people should check whether they have bought any of the products.”