Listeria outbreak leads to recall of more than 500 products nationwide

ST. GEORGE — The Food and Drug Administration recently announced the voluntary recalls of multiple products which may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono), an organism which could result in severe illness to those people who may consume these products. The majority of the products are frozen foods; however, sunflower kernels have also been identified as possible culprits.

The recalls come as part of a multistate listeriosis investigation by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following reports of eight people from three states — six in California, one in Washington and one in Maryland — with outbreak strains of Listeria.

The ages of those infected ranged from 56 to 86, with a median age of 76 years old. All eight were hospitalized. The two people in Washington and Maryland later died, although Listeria was not listed as the ultimate cause of death for either person.

The bulk of the recalls are related to products manufactured by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington. CRF initially recalled 11 frozen vegetable products on April 23, but on May 4, the company expanded that list to approximately 358 products sold under 42 separate brands.

According to a news release from CRF, this expanded recall of frozen vegetables includes all of the frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed in CRF Frozen Foods’ Pasco facility since May 1, 2014. All affected products have the best-by dates or sell-by dates between April 26, 2016, and April 26, 2018.

The full list of CRF products includes:

  • organic and non-organic broccoli
  • butternut squash
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • corn
  • edamame
  • green beans
  • Italian beans
  • kale
  • leeks
  • lima beans
  • onions
  • peas
  • pepper strips
  • potatoes and potato medley
  • root medley
  • spinach
  • sweet potatoes
  • various vegetable medleys, blends, and stir fry packages
  • blueberries
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • peaches
  • raspberries
  • strawberries

The potentially infected food was shipped to stores such as Costco, Safeway, Wal-Mart and Trader Joe’s. CRF said that all retailers who received the products have been contacted. Customers who purchased these products may return them to the store where they were purchased for a refund or simply discard them.

Steve Summerhays with the St. George Costco confirmed that some of the products made it to the St. George Costco; however, all products have been pulled from the shelf, and customers who may have purchased the products have been contacted.

A text, email and some phone calls have gone out to anyone that had purchased any of those items that might have been on that recall list,” Summerhays said.

Summerhays said to the best of his knowledge, there haven’t been any illnesses reported in conjunction with the recall in Southern Utah. Anyone who has called in has been notified of the recall, he said, and they have brought the products in to be disposed of properly. Costco is even going above and beyond the products listed for the sake of safety.

“If they had an item that wasn’t on the list but they were still concerned about it, we still take that back and refund it to them,” Summerhays said. “We want to have that peace of mind.”

CRF Frozen Foods suspended operations at their Pasco, Washington, facility following the initial April recall. Consumers with questions may call the CRF consumer hotline at 844-483-3866, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., EST.

In addition to the frozen food recall, several recalls of products from various manufacturers containing sunflower kernels have also been issued. In two separate recalls, the Kroger Co. issued recalls of their Kroger Sunflower Salad Toppers, Kroger Sunflower Kernels, Kroger Cranberry Delight Trail Mix and Kroger Brocolli Raisin Salad.

Kroger operates stores under the following names: Kroger, Smith’s Food & Drug Stores, Ralph’s, Food 4 Less, Jay–C, Dillons, Baker’s, Gerbes, King Soopers, City Market and Fry’s.

Kroger brands, according to aggdata.com, include Smith’s Food & Drug Stores, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, City Market, Dillons Supermarkets, Fry’s Food & Drug, King Soopers, Kwik Shop, Littman Jewelers, Loaf ‘N Jug, Tom Thumb, Turkey Hill, Quik Stop, Quality Food Center, Baker’s, Barclay Jewelers, Foods Co. Fred Myer Jewelers, Smith’s Express, Owen’s Market, Jay C, Pay Less Super Markets, Gerbes Super Markets, Scott’s Food & Pharmacy and Ruler Foods.

According to an FDA press release:

Kroger has removed these items from store shelves and initiated its customer recall notification system that alerts customers who may have purchased recalled Class 1 products through register receipt tape messages and phone calls.

At the time of publication of this article, a request for comment from Kroger media relations has not been immediately responded to.

According to the CDC, the symptoms of Listeria include fever and muscle aches (sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms), confusion, loss of balance and convulsions. Listeria primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems; however, in rare cases, people without these risk factors can also be affected.

Besides returning or destroying any products which may have been contaminated, the CDC also recommends that any areas where the items were stored be washed with hot water and soap. Following cleanup of the storage areas, hands should be washed with warm water and soap.

For a complete list of FDA recalls, market withdrawals and safety alerts, visit the FDA website.

Email: pdail@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • DB May 9, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Recalls seem to occur with only ‘good for you’ foods. I’ve never seen a recall for pork rinds, for example…

  • Common Sense May 10, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Check out foodsafety.gov for a list of this years recalls and you will see it most definitely is not “only” “good for you” foods. There is jerky, tamales, meat products, lasagna, pork products…these recalls mostly due to e.coli, foreign matter contamination, undeclared allergen, misbranding. Listeria is obviously going to occur more often in vegetable because of the nature of listeria itself.

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