Chiquita Brands International misbranded its Pineapple Bites with Coconut and Pineapple Bites products, according to a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration.
The Oct. 6 letter to chief executive officer Fernando Aguirre from Barbara Cassens, FDA district director, gives Chiquita 15 days to respond. Chiquita representatives could not be reached for comment Oct. 13.
The coconut variety is made with a flavored spray rather than coconut, the FDA said, making the label misleading.
Both varieties of the pineapple product make claims about antioxidants, âphytonutrientsâ and calories that donât meet FDA requirements, the agency said.
Chiquita packaging doesnât identify the antioxidants. Phytonutrients have no daily recommended value or intake, according to the agency. The labels on both products say âOnly 40 calories,â implying they are low-calorie foods, Cassens said in the letter. The FDA said a disclaimer â âOnly 40 calories per serving, not a low calorie foodâ â is required.
The products also contained the preservatives ascorbic acid and citric acid, but these were not declared on the labels, according to the agency.
The claims are based on FDA inspections of a Chiquita-owned plant in Salinas, Calif., from May to June.
Separately, Cassens asked Chiquita to review its food safety criteria in light of voluntary recalls earlier this year of Fresh Express Hearts of Romaine. Samples had tested positive for salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7.
Fresh Express â owned by Chiquita â should, among other things, review procedures for assuring that wash, flume and processing water do not contaminate products, the FDA said.
Cassensâ letter acknowledged that Fresh Express had committed to retrain employees on sanitary practices, wash dryer hoist controls and equipment control panels, and create a new storage system for aprons and gloves.
The company did not document the changes or demonstrate theyâd been made, according to the letter.