Pepper Gift Set Recalled After Supplier Detects A Toxin And Mold

It could take up to three months to drive between Europe and South Africa, according to Nevertheless, their cuisines are linked, as Tasting Table learned from Prue Leith of "The Great British Bake Off" fame, during an exclusive interview. In fact, that's one of any number of reasons you might want to consider South African sparkling wines when considering affordable alternatives to France-sourced Champagne. Of course, other parts of the world have influenced South African cuisine as well, per Something South African LLC, a Seattle, Washington-based company (SSA) that specializes in specialty food product imports from South Africa. SSA's imports include among other things, regional curries, Rooibos teas, and a curated variety of Asia-influenced spices, along with European-influenced specialty food products.

One of the specialty food products that SSA counts among its imports is a small gift set made up of a variety of dried peppers, each sourced from someplace considered influential in South African cuisine, according to a company announcement that the FDA published on December 15 on its Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts page. SSA's "Pepper Collection Gift Set" is made up of eight petite, individually sealed glass tubes, each containing a small sampling of a different kind of dried pepper, including Brazilian Pink, Chinese Szechuan, Vietnamese Black, Indian Green, and Malaysian Long. Unfortunately, that company announcement was made for the purpose of recalling that pepper gift set, due to the possible presence of the toxin, Ochratoxin A, and related Aspergillus mold in some tubes.

1 of the 8 peppers in the gift set is at issue

On December 15, Something South African (SSA) announced the recall of some of its Pepper Collection Gift Sets (via FDA). The company initiated the recall after learning that its supplier detected in its inventory of Malaysian Long Peppers, the toxin, Ochratoxin A, along with a mold capable of producing it, Aspergillus brasiliensis. At this time, the company is not aware of any illness arising out of the gift set and its use. However, long-term exposure to Ochratoxin A may prove problematic in some populations, per a 2020 opinion paper published in the EFSA Journal. Although Aspergillus brasiliensis rarely causes illness, when it does – in the form of aspergillosis, it can be serious, especially as it tends to primarily affect individuals with a weakened immune system (via Mayo Clinic).

The SKU number for this gift set is 549153. The Batch number is 494951-T, with a BBE date of June 2024. The UPC code is 6 009686 793712 (visible below the barcode). Although the recall pertains to the whole eight-tube gift set, only the tube labeled "Malaysian Long" is suspected of contamination. Accordingly, anyone who may already have this gift set in their possession has the option of returning it to whomever they purchased it from. That is, in all likelihood, World Market, which appears to be the SSA's sole distributor. SSA can be emailed at or contacted by phone Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST (425-890-3031).