Recent Recalls and Breakouts Related to Listeria monocytogenes
Contributed by Carol Huang
On July 29, 2016, SM Fish Corp. of Far Rockaway, NY, is voluntarily recalling OSSIE’S brand ready-to-eat Herring Salads for its potential of contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria was found in multiple locations throughout the facility by the FDA sampling and inspectional findings. Fish Corp. has ceased production and distribution of products following discussion with FDA on July 27. No illness reported to this date.
July 28, 2016, ConAgra Foods is voluntarily recalling additional package codes of Watts Brothers Farms Organic Mixed Vegetables, Organic Super Sweet Corn (Yellow/Gold), and Organic Peas due to the potential for to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, which were first recalled on May 5, 2016. The products covered by this recall were distributed in the U.S. and sold at Costco. There have been no confirmed illnesses to date from the products listed for recall.
On April 22, 2016, CRF Frozen Foods recalled 11 frozen vegetable products because they may be contaminated with Listeria. On May 2, 2016, CRF Frozen Foods expanded its recall to include all frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed in CRF Frozen Foods’ Pasco facility since May 1, 2014. These products have “best by” dates of April 26, 2016, through April 26, 2018, and may have been purchased in all fifty U.S. states and the following Canadian Provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan,
July 15, 2016, FDA Investigated Listeria Outbreak Linked to Frozen Vegetables.
Listeria is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and immunocompromised persons. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
According to CDC, about 1,600 people in the US get sick from Listeria germs each year; Listeria is the 3rd leading cause of death from food poisoning. Nearly all cases in persons who are not infants result from eating food contaminated with L. monocytogenes;
Listeria is a hardy germ that is hard to control. The challenges are the sickness may not occur until weeks later when it is difficult to identify which food was the source, it can even grow on foods that are refrigerated.
Quick identify the infection sources is critical. Whole genome sequencing on clinical, food, and environmental L. monocytogenes isolates provides high-resolution genetic information to aid the investigation of outbreaks by decreasing the time from outbreak detection to public health intervention.