Major Recall for U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.

'Sharp metal objects' found in some cans; retailers asked to segregate inventory

RICHMOND, Va. – U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. (USSTC) announced a voluntary recall Jan. 31 of about 40 named tobacco products in certain lots, asking wholesalers and retailers to segregate all products within their inventories.

USSTC initiated the recall after eight customers from six states complained about finding foreign metal objects, “including sharp metal objects found in select cans.” In a press release, Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group, USSTC’s parent company, said that in each case, the object was visible to the consumer and there have been no reports of consumer injury. Complaints have been received from consumers in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

The products were manufactured solely in USSTC’s Franklin Park, Ill., facility and distributed nationally, the company said. USSTC has notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of the recall and said it is working with federal authorities on the matter.

The majority of USSTC’s cans are not affected, including Copenhagen Fine Cut and Copenhagen Long Cut in a fiberboard can, and Copenhagen Long Cut Wintergreen in a plastic can.

USSTC is instructing wholesalers and retailers to segregate the recalled products from their inventories. USSTC’s sales representatives will assist wholesalers and retailers in returning the product.

In her newsletter released earlier this week, Bonnie Herzog, managing director for beverage, tobacco and convenience-store research, Wells Fargo Securities LLC, New York, cited her industry contacts as saying, “This issue is possibly bigger than originally feared. As a result, the headwind to smokeless volumes could be worse than originally thought.”

“USSTC is conducting this recall out of abundance of caution and in the interest of our consumers,” Brian Quigley, president and CEO of USSTC, told CSP Daily News. “We value our relationship with our wholesalers and retailers and recognize the impact that this recall has on them. We greatly appreciate their help in this effort. The majority of USSTC’s product varieties remain available, and we are working as quickly as possible to replenish our stock for our consumers and trade partners.”

A consumer who has any of the products listed here should not open or use the product. The company asked consumers to contact USSTC at (866) 201-9136 to return the product for a refund.

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