Winter has certainly come to the Northwest!  Here in Seattle we have over a foot of snow and the temperature has yet to crack freezing level in the past week and a half.  Wherever you are, now is the time of year to bundle up, take a walk, and sip on a nice cup of steaming hot cocoa.

But if you purchased that cocoa from Big Lots or Shopko under the brand name "G & J," put that cup down.   

Three "G & J" brand cocoa products packaged for Christmas sale at Big Lots and Shopko are being recalled after testing positive for melamine.  It seems this melamine problem will just not go away, as evidenced by the numerous recalls and stories from around the world, including contaminated baby formula in China that led to 294,000 children sickened, hundreds hospitalized, and at least six infants who lost their lives. 

As Phyllis Entis points out in her excellent three-part article, Getting Rid of Melamine, this problem is now not just China’s or the US’s.  More must be done to stop this type of flagrant disregard for food safety laws that puts all of us at risk.  How about starting with some of the suggestions made by Bill Marler in his open letter to the new Undersecretary for Food Safety at FSIS?

But I digress.  Getting back to the current recall, the products are:

  • Hot Cocoa Stuffer (bar code number 061361201444), sold in small green and blue packages along with a candy cane and marshmallows.
  • His and Hers Hot Cocoa Set (bar code number 489702201296), sold with two ceramic mugs in a brown box.
  • Cocoa (bar code number 061361201260), sold in two flavors — French vanilla, sold in a small green bag, and double chocolate, sold in a small pink bag. Both have a whisk attached.

For more details, see the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.