August 3rd, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
A new report released by the Government Accountability Office finds measures to reduce outbreaks of serious foodborne illnesses in the U.S. are not meeting the nation’s safety goals, and the systems employed to catch and prevent outbreaks are in need of significant strengthening.
Read More:Food Poisoning Risks on the Rise, Cites New Research
July 30th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
A potentially deadly outbreak of listeria-contaminated onions supplied to Trader Joe’s for some of the grocery chain’s private-label branded deli products, has led the chain to issue several recalls as of last Friday affecting 13 states (AZ, CA, FL, GA, NM, NV, OR, SC, NC, TN, TX, VA WA).
Read More:Trader Joe’s Recalls Onion Products Potentially Contaminated with Listeria
October 22nd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Five deaths and six illnesses are being linked to celery distributed by San Antonio-based SanGar Produce & Processing.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has ordered the company to stop processing food and recall all products shipped from the plant since January. The order was issued after laboratory tests of chopped celery from the plant indicated the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause severe illness.
The recalled products—primarily cut fresh produce in sealed packages—were distributed to restaurants and institutional entities like hospitals and schools. The DSHS doesn’t believe products were sold in grocery stores.
Read More:5 Die, 6 Sickened After Eating Tainted Celery
September 17th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
If you’re planning to dine out, this story is about to ruin your day.
British researchers have found that more than half of the cleaning cloths used in restaurants and takeout kitchens contained alarming levels of bacteria—sure signs of poor hygiene and cross-contamination.
These cloths must be frequently changed or disinfected to halt bacterial growth that could cause food poisoning, according to the research team at the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency. Failure to do so means bacteria can spread from the cloths to foodservice workers’ hands, as well as work surfaces and equipment.
Read More:Dirty Restaurant Dish Cloths May Sicken Us
September 2nd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Mountain View, MO-based Morningland Dairy is recalling 68,957 pounds of raw-milk cheese (made with cows’ milk and goats’ milk) because it may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) and/or Staphylococcus aureus.
The company’s products are sold in the lower 48 states via retail stores, mail order, crop-sharing associations and direct delivery. Cheeses are sold in vacuum-sealed plastic packages based on product weight.
The following cheese varieties are affected:
Read More:Morningland Dairy Recalls Raw-Milk Cheese Sold in 48 States
August 14th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Fresh Express is recalling 2,825 cases of its Veggie Lover’s Bagged Salad with a Product Code of I208 and a Use-by Date of Aug. 10. The salads may be contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes (Lm).
No other Fresh Express salads are included in the recall, and no illnesses have been reported to date. If you have this product at home, discard it immediately. For additional information, call the Fresh Express Consumer Response Center at (800) 242-5472 (Monday–Friday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT).
The recall is based on a random sample test conducted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. One package yielded a positive result for Lm.
Affected products were delivered to 13 states, with the potential for redistribution to an additional 14 states:
Possible Redistribution States
MO, MI, OH, IL, WI, IN, MD, MA, NY, KS, KY, PA, NJ
AR, TN, WV, IA, MN, DC, VA, VT, NH, NE, RI, PA, CT, MS
Signs and symptoms of Listeria-related foodborne illness may include fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, diarrhea). If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms may include headache, stiff neck or confusion. The illness primarily affects pregnant women and adults with weakened immune systems. Most healthy adults and children rarely become seriously ill.
As I noted in a prior post, Fresh Express recalled numerous romaine-based salads in May.
Read More:New Recall: Fresh Express Veggie Lover’s Salad
July 30th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Sunday’s recall of specific Specialty Farms organic alfalfa sprout products has been expanded.
Now, the company’s Organic Alfalfa Sprouts Blend (UPC 509800108) and Organic Sprout Salad (UPC 8192400024) with best if sold by dates of 8/3/2010 and 8/1/2010, respectively, may also be contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes (Lm). This expansion reflects new “sell by” dates.
The company is also recalling the following Stop & Shop-brand products with a “best if sold by” date of 8/1/2010:
- Nature’s Promise Organic Alfalfa Sprouts (4 oz.)—UPC 8826704741
- Nature’s Promise Organic Alfalfa Sprouts (8 oz.)—UPC 8826704102
- Nature’s Promise Organic Zesty Sprouts (4 oz.) —UPC 8826703903
At press time, products dated 8/4/2010 and beyond were not included in this recall.
Products have been sold to distributors and retail stores in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
In a laboratory analysis, samples tested positive for Lm. No illnesses have been reported.
Specialty Farms is trying to determine where and how the sprouts were contaminated.
If you’ve purchased these products, return them to the store for a refund. If you have questions, please call Specialty Farms at (203) 366-6919 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST).
Read More:Recall of Organic Alfalfa Sprouts Expands
July 26th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Yesterday’s report on the recall of organic sprouts serves as a reminder that we still have a long way to go in ensuring the safety of our food supply.
In fact, Listeria monocytogenes (Lm)—the bacterium involved in the sprout recall—has been a key target for regulatory agencies in the United States and abroad.
In 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture made rigorous attempts to reduce Lm contamination after contending with 2 years of outbreaks associated with ready-to-eat meat and poultry products, according to Daniel Engeljohn, PhD, acting assistant administrator of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Office of Data Integration and Food Protection.
Aggressive food testing and a zero-tolerance policy have contributed to major strides in decreasing outbreaks, he recently told attendees at the 2010 Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting.
Stepped-up prevention efforts have led to a program that:
- Determines a specific product’s contamination risk
- Sets a frequency for regular testing
In the past, food products were tested at random, without considering the likelihood of contamination. Testing has also been expanded to 10,000 products annually.
As a result, the incidence of Lm-contaminated, ready-to-eat foods has decreased to .38% last year, as compared to 4.61% in 1990.
The international community has also made significant progress in reducing infections, according to Ewen C.D. Todd, PhD, a professor of advertising, public relations and retailing at Michigan State University.
Photo courtesy of the CDC
Read More:Feds Work Toward Reducing Listeriosis Outbreaks
July 25th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Bridgeport, CT-based Specialty Farms, LLC, is voluntarily recalling its Organic Alfalfa Sprouts Blend (UPC code 8192400108) and Organic Sprout Salad (UPC code 8192400024) because they may be contaminated with the bacterium Listeria Monocytogenes (Lm).
The products have a sell-by date of 7/26/2010 and are sold in 4-oz. plastic containers.
Lm can cause serious and occasionally fatal infections in young children, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems. Healthy people may suffer short-term signs and symptoms: high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. The bacterium can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths.
Products dated 7/27/2010 and later are not included in this recall. The affected products were distributed to the retailer Price Chopper and to the distributor Cooseman’s in the following states: New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Pennsylvania.
If you have purchased these products, return them to the store for a refund. If you have any questions, contact Specialty Farms at (203) 366-6919 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST).
Read More:Organic Sprouts Recalled in Northeast