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I've used Tilda basmati rice for twenty years. It was first recommended (in an L.A. Times article, I think) as the most aromatic, flavorful basmati available, later confirmed by friends from India. When I started buying it, at an Indian grocery store in West Los Angeles, the most economical way for me was to buy it in 13 pound bags. At some point, the Tilda brand became more popular and could be found, in very expensive smaller packages, in mainstream grocery stores. At that point, the larger bags were downsized to ten pounds, which I still could only find at Indian grocery stores. A ten pound bag could last me for many months. Since moving to DC, I'd always bought it at the Indian grocery on the main drag in Vienna, VA. I was about halfway through my last purchase when I started seeing the big bags for sale at Rodman's. I made a mental note to buy it there the next time I needed some. Well, when I finally went to Rodman's to buy one, they were sold out. The manager said that he had spoken to the wholesaler and that they were "out." I went to the Indian grocery in Vienna, and they were also out. But the store's owner had a somewhat more detailed explanation. He said that for some reason, the most recent shipment had been rejected by the USDA and sent back to India. The company was so incensed by this that they vowed never to ship their product to the US ever again. <gasp>

At the store owner's rec, I ended up buying Kohinoor basmati, at the same (rather expensive) price as Tilda. I haven't cooked any yet, but just transferring the rice from the sack to the large storage container in my pantry, it isn't nearly as aromatic as Tilda.

When I first started buying it in L.A. I did buy and return a bag of Tilda to the store that was infested with bugs, but never encountered that problem again.

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This is really interesting, at least to me. I'd love to learn the 'rest of the story' since, collectively, everything above collectively doesn't paint an entirely coherent picture.

- Why would the company be so "incensed" given the basis of the FDA's rejection?

- Why would they suddenly be non-communicative given the US probably is/was a material market for them?

- What caused the contamination from the source or in transit?

- Why no recall given the seriousness of the problem and the fact that many packages are still in the market?

Not sure all or even some of those questions will ever be clearly answered but really a head-scratcher. I hope your new backup is close to as-good, Zora! I'd be interested to know if you're willing to share once you've had a chance to try some.

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For me the missing products are two sauces that I really liked and started using a few years ago:

1. JT Pappy's Hickory Heaven (and actually there whole line of spicier gator sauces was good too). I first discovered them as part of the California Tortilla Wall of Flame. I really miss the sauce as it was a very nice all purpose - BBQ-like but not nearly as sweet sauce good for almost any meat. Apparently, they went out of business. I think they were local MD too. I also got rid of my last bottle a while ago and so no chance to review the ingredient list and try to reverse engineer at home.

2. Beltway BBQ - this has been my go-to BBQ sauce for several years after I first got a taste at WF in Friendship Heights, which also used to carry it. It appears they may also have gone out of business recently as I can't find it anymore, and the website for the company Sauce King seems defunct. Luckily I do have a mostly-empty jar left and will try to recreate it at home. It is a medium-brown sweet sauce but with significantly more mustard flavor than most other sweet tomato BBQ sauces.

It is sad when you've been using something for years and come to rely on it and then it is gone. I find the impact is felt more for prepared ingredients like condiments that are tougher to substitute than staples like rice. Although as much as we don't like to admit it, we all love our brands.

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^ Have you checked at Super H? I know they have the vacuum-fried veg chips and green beans, and there are dozens of other snacks in the same display. If you are looking at the produce department as you walk in the front door, the snacks are in plastic bins on the right, next to the food court. I'll check next time I'm in, but I'm not sure when that might be.

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Trader Joe's is notorious for this, I guess it comes with trying to be sensitive to their market, but it leaves customers high & dry (& pining for a discontinued item)-I'm trying to think of the last time it happened to me, but I'm blocking it from my memory. At least, the bulk of their products are still satisfying enough to keep me as an occasional (maybe bi-monthly) shopper, mostly for condiments & drinks.

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I really miss Whole Foods' dried persimmon -- they still have other dried fruits, but never the persimmon.

Broken record alert - if it wasn't WF in particular, these are available at Super H and most Asian grocers, particularly in the fall.

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Thanks, lperry - I'll look there! I'd never had it before I saw it at WF, and really loved it. I have failed at buying fresh persimmons that are non-puckery (when I've let them ripen, I've always eaten them either too soon or too late when they're all mush).

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It appears that it was was because it was adulterated pesticide contamination.

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/importrefusals/ir_detail.cfm?EntryId=101-3246851-3&DocId=1&LineId=1&SfxId=

Yikes! Now I wonder what happened to that shipment of rice that was rejected. And a tip of the hat to the fools who want to eliminate all of those "job-killing" government regulations.

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This is really interesting, at least to me. I'd love to learn the 'rest of the story' since, collectively, everything above collectively doesn't paint an entirely coherent picture.

- Why would the company be so "incensed" given the basis of the FDA's rejection? Feigned outrage over being caught.

- Why would they suddenly be non-communicative given the US probably is/was a material market for them? They're busy changing the name of their company so they can try it again.

- What caused the contamination from the source or in transit? It's pre-contaminated for your convenience.

- Why no recall given the seriousness of the problem and the fact that many packages are still in the market? Recall? This is business, baby!

Not sure all or even some of those questions will ever be clearly answered but really a head-scratcher. I hope your new backup is close to as-good, Zora! I'd be interested to know if you're willing to share once you've had a chance to try some.

My guesses above in red. :D

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