April 09, 2020

Twinkies face recall> Asbestos contamination of Hostess snacks feared

CHICAGO — More than a dozen types of Hostess snacks, including HoHo’s and Twinkies, sold in 21 states are being recalled because of possible asbestos contamination.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based Interstate Brands Corp. said Tuesday it believes the products are safe, but its Hostess cake division is recalling them voluntarily. There are concerns they may have been affected by asbestos fibers in insulation removed from a boiler at the company’s suburban Schiller Park plant Jan. 11.

Asbestos is a fibrous substance known to cause cancer and other health problems.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had planned to close the plant Monday night when it was shut down voluntarily.

“Everything they had in their plant or on their docks has been embargoed,” said Tom Schafer, a spokesman for the Illinois Public Health Department. “It is being held.”

The products were sold in the central United States and have a “57” code as part of the expiration date on the package, the company said. Only products with the “57” code are subject to the recall.

The recall includes 13 Hostess products plus Dolly Madison cupcakes, almost all of which have expiration dates ranging from Jan. 22 through Feb. 6. HoHo’s included have expiration dates ranging from Jan. 29 to Feb. 13. The products can be returned to the place they were purchased for a complete refund.

The incident is being investigated by state and federal officials, including the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Nancy Quick, director of OSHA’s Des Plaines office, said the agency received a complaint of possible employee exposure to asbestos and began its inspection last Friday. The agency has not yet received results of tests to determine if anyone was exposed to asbestos.

Interstate Brands is the nation’s largest wholesale baker. The snack brands involved in the recall are Dolly Madison Cupcakes and the following Hostess products: HoHo’s, Twinkies, Light Twinkies, Cupcakes, Light Cup, Light Brownie, Chocolicious, Muffin-Oat Bran, Valentine, Hoppers, Dessert Cup, Fruit Pies and Honey Bun.

Schafer said the company told health officials that the states involved are Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

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