S&W and O Organic Canned Beans Are Recalled

Improper seals could cause bacterial contamination in cans, exposing consumers to risk of illness

Black Beans in an aluminum can Photo: iStock

Faribault Foods voluntarily extended a recall of three types of canned beans after consumers alerted the company that there were breaks in the cans’ hermetic seal, the Food and Drug Administration announced Monday.

Food in an improperly sealed can is susceptible to bacterial growth, especially of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism.

The beans involved in this recall are 15-ounce cans of S&W Organic Black Beans, O Organics Black Beans, and O Organics Chili Beans distributed between August 2020 and April 2021. This is an extension of a recall of the same beans in April. No illnesses have been reported.

The products carry “best by” dates of July 19, 2022, through March 16, 2023, along with a lot code on the bottom of the can. (You can find a list of the lot codes on the FDA’s website.) The beans were shipped to stores in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. The previously recalled beans have different lot codes and best-by dates.

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One of the products, S&W Organic Black Beans, is sold at Costco, which issued its own recall (PDF) Tuesday. Faribault Foods did not reply to CR’s request for information about other retailers that sell the beans. But Faribault Foods spokesperson Jill Kupfer said the company "can confirm that all potentially compromised product shipped to any retailers has been removed from store shelves."

“A hermetic seal allows a can to be airtight and watertight but also allows there to be a vacuum, if needed, inside the can,” says James E. Rogers, PhD, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. To keep the contents of the can safe and any possible contamination out, the seal has to be maintained, he says. 

Cans with broken seals might leak or bloat, or could promote bacterial growth inside the can, according to the FDA. One of the most serious problems could be Clostridium botulinum, a type of bacteria that produces a toxin that, when consumed, can affect a person’s nervous system. Symptoms can include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, and muscle weakness. 

Don’t use or buy any canned food if the can is bulging, severely dented, or leaking in any way, Rogers says, and “make sure the top and bottom of the can are not distended. They should look normal and intact.” 

Consumers who purchased the recalled canned beans are urged to return them to the store for a refund or replacement. 

“The quality and safety of our products are the top priority for our company,” Faribault Foods said in the FDA’s announcement. “We apologize to our retail customers and consumers and sincerely regret any inconvenience created by this recall.”

The Details

Products Recalled 

• 15-ounce cans of S&W Organic Black Beans with the best-by dates in July 2022, September 2022, January 2023, February 2023, and March 2023. See the FDA announcement for a full list of dates and lot codes. 

• 15-ounce cans of O Organics Black Beans with a best-by date of Feb. 2, 2023, and lot code 981A 035 21.

• 15-ounce cans of O Organics Chili Beans with a best-by date of Feb. 4, 2023, and lot code 978A 036 21.

The problem: The hermetic seal on the cans may be broken. 

The fix: Return the recalled product to the store where it was purchased for a full refund, or toss it into the trash.

How to contact the manufacturer: Call Faribault Foods at 888-201-6440 between 8 a.m. and 5 a.m. CT Monday through Friday, or email BeanTeam@FaribaultFoods.com.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to include a comment from Faribault Foods and to include February 2023 as one of the "best buy" dates involved in the recall of S&W Organic Black Beans. This article was originally published on May 18, 2021.