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PRESS RELEASE: Recall of Food Produced at Airway Heights Corrections Center

Released May 18, 2017

Contact Jeremy Barclay, (360) 515-6661

DOC Communications

TUMWATER – Based on recent events involving the water supply in Airway Heights, Wash., and out of an abundance of caution, the Washington Department of Corrections has issued a voluntary recall of the food manufactured by the Airway Heights Corrections Center's Correctional Industries' food production facility.

The Department has ceased distributing potentially affected food products produced and distributed from Airway Heights Corrections Center to other correctional facilities and external customers. The Department has removed foods from the meal plan which were produced at Airway Heights Corrections Center, including brownies, breakfast bars, and other Airway Heights' produced baked goods. Alternative menus have been developed to avoid any of the Airway Heights' produced goods at this time.

This voluntary recall of food items produced at the Airway Heights Corrections Center is based on a finding of elevated levels of fluorinated organic chemicals (PFOS and PFOA) in the City of Airway Heights drinking water supply. The City of Airway Heights advised its water customers to not drink city water or use city water for cooking. This advisory will be in effect until further notice.

The levels found in the drinking water exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifetime health advisory (HA) level. The advisory level is based on lifetime exposure from water ingestion, not from skin contact or breathing water vapor, which are not considered to be unsafe. While the levels found in the City of Airway Heights drinking water are above what is considered safe to drink, the amount of PFOA/PFOS in food processed with the water is likely to be much lower. The health risk from eating food processed with the water is expected to be very small.

The Department is issuing the voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution and not in response to any specific threat of illness. The Department is working with local authorities and health officials to determine when it can resume normal operations.

For more information about the city's water issues, contact the Fairchild Air Force Base Public Affairs office at (509) 247-5705 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or email, or you can obtain information from the City of Airway Heights by calling 211.

Updated May 20, 2017

USDA News Release: Correctional Industries Airway Heights Food Operations Recalls Frozen Meat and Poultry Products Due to Water Contamination