Heineken USA has urged consumers not to drink several of its beer brands across 43 states due to a bottle manufacturing defect that means small glass particles could fall into liquid.
Lines affected include 12oz (354ml) brown bottles for six- and 12-packs of Carta Blanca and Dos Equis Ambar as well as ‘Beers of Mexico’ packs containing Dos Equis Ambar and Texas-only ‘Best of Mexico’ pack types containing Indio 12oz bottles.
But Dos Equis Lager green bottles and draught, Dos Equis Ambar draught, Tecate and Carta Blanca 32-oz bottles and other Heineken US brands were not impacted, the firm said, while the beer itself in recalled batches was not affected.
According to Heineken USA: “There have not been any reports of consumer injuries, and while the likelihood of a possible injury to a consumer is very low, the presence of small particles of glass in the bottle could pose a health risk.”
Heineken inspection spotted flaws
The firm said that the affected bottles were produced by a third-party supplier with the defect detected through Heineken's own routine quality inspections.
“Due to this defect, there is the potential for small grains or particles of glass to separate from the inside lip of the bottle and fall into the liquid. The pieces may vary in size and some may not be easily visible," it added.
Heineken USA spokeswoman Tara Carraro told BeverageDaily.com today that there were still no reports of consumer injuries: "We were made aware of the potential for the problem last week, and we've been working very closely with our supply chain partners to determine the nature of the problem and identify where the product has gone. We're in the process now of executing the recall in the market."
Production date ranges related to products produced between March 6 and April 7, Carraro added, and asked whether she was able to quantify the amount of bottles potentially affected by the recall, said: "I don't have a specific number of bottles, but the [43 state] geography represents the potential number of states to receive the product that has potentially been impacted, and of that we believe that significantly less than 1% has the defect."
She said: "The only way to execute a recall appropriately is to pull all of the potential product, and then check it against the production codes: this is the most efficient and effective way to execute a recall. It wouldn't necessarily be considered a significant quantity of bottles affected."
Given that Heineken USA's own inspection of its third-party bottle supplier identified the defects - which suggested that the problem might otherwise have passed unnoticed - what would the beer giant say to consumers of other brands who were worried about product safety?
Carraro said: "This is only a potential in brown bottle products, and is very specific to products listed in the recall notice. So Dos Equis Lager, for example, which represents 70% of the brand volume is in a green bottle, and is absolutely not in scope regarding this recall, which is very specific to brown bottles for Carta Blanca and Dos Equis Amber...and Indio in the 'Best of Mexico' variety pack in Texas."
Stacey Tank, chief corporate relations officer for Heineken USA said: “We have made the decision to issue a partial, voluntary recall of the affected products. We would urge consumers not to consume beer from any affected bottles.”
Consumers could locate defective products by visiting the Heineken USA website to find products listed by state and related production codes, which were printed on the necks of bottle above back labels, Tank said.
“We take our consumers health and safety very seriously, and we will do everything we can to make this right. We appreciate our loyal customers and we can’t thank you enough for your patience,” she added.