Grocery Health Recalls

Many Ready-To-Eat Foods Were Just Recalled For Salmonella AND Listeria Contamination

Major grocers like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and 7-11 are all being affected by a major recall involving prepared vegetables nationwide.

Photo: Lance Cheung // USDA, Creative Commons 2.0

The recall spreads across tons of different prepared foods, including taquitos, ready-to-eat meal salads, sandwich wraps, sandwiches, bowls, and more. According to the USDA’s site related to the outbreak, at least 13 nationwide recalls have been connected to this overarching contamination.

Salmonella and Listeria are the two pathogens involved, and they were responsible for tainting the entire spread of prepared veggies coming from a California plant owned by supplier McCain Foods. These included caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and corn.

It was McCain’s recall of its various products as a “cautionary measure” that prompted several other food producers and retailers to follow suit, according to Food Safety News.

While most of the products are expired, any that may still be in your fridges or shelves should be discarded, according to the USDA. You can view the full list of products and recalls at this link.

Grocery Health News Now Trending Packaged Food

Major Grocers Like Whole Foods Are Recalling Fresh-Cut Vegetables Over Potential Listeria

If you’ve gone grocery shopping and bought fresh-cut vegetables recently, check them now, because they may be under recall.

Multiple major grocers, including Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, Trader Joe’s, Meijer, Albertson’s, and others, are all issuing voluntary recalls after Mann Packing Co., a major produce supplier, learned that Listeria monocytogenes may be in their product. Mann called for their products to be returned after Canadian food authorities inspected some vegetables and got a positive test for the pathogen.

Mann Packing Co. has since posted a full list of all products under recall on its website. The packed vegetables predominantly consist of broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Several party trays of veggies were also affected.

On top of the Mann’s recall, Whole Foods and others are issuing select voluntary returns of their own for various salad products in light of the potential Listeria contamination.

Listeria is a pathogen that does well in cold environments and typically results in symptoms like fever and diarrhea. However, if the bacteria spreads to other parts of the body, it causes a disease called Listeriosis that can result in muscle aches, confusion, and loss of balance. In pregnant women, it can result in stillbirths and miscarriages.

Fortunately, no illnesses have yet to be reported regarding the vegetables, and all of those affected by the recall have gone past their expiration dates. Thus, it’s best to discard or return any veggies you purchased on the list to the original store, where you will receive a full refund.

Health Packaged Food Products Science

9 Tragic Food Outbreaks That Still Horrify Us Today

It seems that nowadays, we can’t go a full week without hearing news about some food product getting recalled due to some contamination or adulteration. Over the past half century, food poisoning has gained a lot of attention, especially here in the United States, as food safety disasters, mainly caused by fecal contamination, occasionally turn into horrific, tragic tales.

Food safety is of the utmost importance, so it’s crucial for the food industry to learn from the mistakes companies within it have made that have not just cost dollars, but also lives. Here are some of the most tragic food poisoning outbreaks that have occurred over the past half century. May we hope to never be a part of or witness one as bad as these again.

Hepatitis A In Green Onions (2003)

A Pennsylvania location of a now-extinct chain restaurant called Chi-Chi’s unknowingly sickened over 500 customers due to some green onions they received from Mexico that were contaminated with Hepatitis A. The green onions were added into salsa and chili con queso that gave people symptoms ranging in severity from vomiting to jaundice, a liver condition that causes skin and eyes to turn slightly yellow. Three people unfortunately died from the outbreak, likely due to the fatal acute liver failure that Hepatitis A can cause. To date, this is the largest outbreak of Hepatitis A in the United States.

Listeria-Contaminated Cantaloupes (2011)

Rocky Mountain Cantaloupe that was distributed across at least 28 different states was found to be adulterated with Listeria after 147 were infected in late 2011. Of those 147, 33 passed away, including at least one confirmed miscarriage of a baby, as a result of listeriosis (the disease caused by Listeria). After investigations by the CDC and FDA, owners of the farm responsible, Jensen Family Farm, pleaded guilty to misdemeanors of distributing tainted food. The farm was also forced into bankruptcy as a result of the outbreak, which is one of the deadliest recorded in United States history.

Mexican Cucumbers Tainted With Salmonella (2015)

In 2015, imported Mexican cucumbers that carried a strain of Salmonella on them were sold across 38 different states. The count of those infected by the cucumbers rose to as many as 767, with 157 of those being hospitalized and four confirmed deaths resulting from the outbreak. All of the imported cucumbers, which were brought into the US by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, ended up being recalled, but the damage was already wrought upon those who were unfortunate enough to consume them.

Hot Dogs Infected With Listeria (1998-1999)

Multiple hot dog brands, including Ball Park and Sara Lee Deli Meat, were responsible for an outbreak of Listeria that infected 108, killed 14 people, and resulted in four miscarriages. All of the hot dogs responsible were traced back to the Bil Mar Foods plant owned by Sara Lee, who issued a recall that halted the outbreak almost immediately. Sara Lee ended up paying $4.4 million to settle civil and criminal charges.

Jack In The Box’s Burger E. Coli Scare (1993)

Many people regard this as the food safety outbreak that put E. Coli on the map as a pathogen to watch out for. Considering it happened at a major fast food chain like Jack In The Box, infected over 500, and killed four people, it’s not hard to see why. The causative agent here was a “Monster burger” that tended to be served undercooked, making it a great environment for E. Coli O157:H7 to grow in. This strain of E. Coli can cause something called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), leading to kidney failure in some who become infected. Since then, the Monster burger has been taken off of the menu, but the legacy of food poisoning in fast food and E. Coli O157:H7 both live on.

Peanut Corporation of America’s Salmonella Peanut Butter (2009)

This outbreak absolutely sucks because it could have been avoided. The Peanut Corporation of America knowingly shipped out Salmonella-contaminated peanut butter across the entire country, infecting over 700 people in 46 states. Nine of those people allegedly died as a result of their infections, which were eventually traced back to the Peanut Corporation and the obstruction of justice was discovered by inspectors. The owner of the company eventually got 28 years in prison for the company’s actions, which is to date the harshest punishment levied on someone for a food-borne illness case in U.S. history.

Baby Spinach From Dole Found To Contain E. Coli (2006)

Over 200 people across 26 states got ill after eating this tainted spinach, which was found to be contaminated with E. Coli O157:H7. Half were hospitalized, 31 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, and three eventually passed away due to kidney failure. The recall was so bad that the FDA issued daily warnings for a week telling people to not eat any spinach, something they had never had to do before. While the spinach was eventually traced back to Dole, the shock of this recall reverberated across the entire country. Leafy greens purchases would take a decade to recover following this spinach outbreak.

Listeria in Raw Milk Cheese (1985)

Los Angeles County was rocked by this outbreak, which lasted for eight months, led to 28 deaths and 20 miscarriages, and infected over 140 people in total. The causative agent was discovered to be soft cheese produced by Jalisco, who was found to be using unpasteurized milk to create their cheeses. Since then, the FDA and USDA regularly issue advisories about the potential dangers of consuming unpasteurized milk that could contain Listeria amongst other food-borne pathogens. Raw milk recalls and deaths still happen every now and then unfortunately, but none matches the magnitude of what happened in SoCal in 1985.

China’s Infamous Melamine Milk Scandal (2008)

This is arguably the most tragic of any food illness outbreak to have occurred ever. In 2008, thousands of infants in China who drank Sanlu baby formula were hospitalized with kidney problems. Six of those children, unfortunately, passed away before investigations uncovered that the baby formula had been tainted with melamine. This chemical has often been used to trick analyzers testing for protein concentrations to make formulas seem more nutritious than they were.

A horrible side effect of melamine, however, was that it would react with another compound in the formula called cyanuric acid to form crystals in the infants’ kidneys that result in severe damage, and in some cases, kidney failure. In total, nearly 300,000 children were sickened by the melamine-tainted formula, resulting in legal punishment of several Sanlu company leaders and the execution of two people who intentionally laced melamine into the milk.

Hopefully, nothing on the scale of Sanlu, or any of the other outbreaks, happens again. Food safety is still, as always, a major concern of the food industry, and one can only hope that nobody misses anything that turns deadly.

Health News Packaged Food

Over 500,000 Frozen Burritos Recalled Due To Listeria Contamination

If those little frozen burritos are in your daily lunch rotation, check that they’re not from Green Chile Food Company, or you might end up getting sick.

Green Chile recalled 252,854 pounds of frozen burritos after the USDA discovered traces of listeria in a beef and potato burrito this past Saturday.

According to the USDA, listeriosis symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, headaches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions followed by diarrhea. The effects can be even worse for pregnant women, as it can lead to miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery, or life-threatening infections to the newborn.

Green Chile sells its burritos throughout California, Illinois, Oregon, and South Dakota, but thankfully, no one has gotten sick from them yet.

The burritos in the recall were produced between March 8 to May 10, and the USDA suggests you take them back for a refund, or at the very least throw them away.

Below is a complete list of of all the products in the recall, a handful of them often found at ampm convenience stores:

  • 8-oz paper wrap packages containing “am pm & Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, EGG & BACON BURRITO with Cheddar Cheese, Potato, Green Chile, Salsa & Jalapeños” with case code of 833425000900.
  • 8-oz paper wrap packages containing “am pm & Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, POBLANO CHICKEN BURRITO with Monterrey Jack Cheese, Salsa, Rice, Onion, Green Chile and Green & Red Bell Peppers” with case code of 833425000931.
  • 8-oz paper wrap packages containing “am pm & Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, BEEF & POTATO BURRITO with Cheddar Cheese, Green Chile & Salsa” with case code of 833425000887.
  • 7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, Chipotle Chicken Burrito with Salsa & Monterey Jack” with case code of 833425001426.
  • 7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, CARNITAS Burrito with Salsa, Monterey Jack & Cilantro Lime Rice” with case code of 833425001488.
  • 7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, EGG & SAUSAGE Breakfast Burrito with HASHBROWNS, Salsa, & Cheddar” with case code of 833425000382.
  • 7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, EGG & BACON Breakfast Burrito with HASHBROWNS, Salsa, Green Chile & Cheddar” with case code of 833425000368.
  • 7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, BEEF Burrito with POTATO, GREEN CHILE, Salsa & Cheddar” with case code of 833425000320.
  • 7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, CHICKEN FAJITA Burrito with Salsa & Cheddar” with case code of 833425000429.
  • 7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, SHREDDED STEAK Burrito with Salsa, Monterey Jack, Green Chile, Onion, Rice & Jalapeño Peppers” with case code of 10833425008941.
  • 7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, BEEF & BEAN Burrito with Green Chile, Salsa & Cheddar” with case code of 833425000344.
  • 7-oz paper wrap packages containing “Green Chile FOOD COMPANY, FIESTA Breakfast Burrito with Beef, Egg, HASHBROWNS, GREEN CHILE, Cheddar & Sausage” with case code of 833425000405.

Photo courtesy of Kobi5

Health News Packaged Food Products

URGENT: Massive Cheese Recall In Progress Due To Listeria


Photo courtesy of Sargento.

Bad news is here for Sargento cheese lovers.

The cheese-making giants are just one of several companies involved in a massive recall due to Listeria monocytogenes, according to Food Safety News.

The recall began after Amish Classic’s Colby Jack cheese tested positive for Listeria in a Tennessee lab that traced back to a general cheese producer. The producer, Deutsch Kase Haus, LLC, then instructed anyone who carries cheese made in that facility to recall it immediately. Companies like Taylor Farms, who uses the cheese in Signature Select Salads made for retailers like Safeway and Albertson’s, and cheesemakers like Amish Classics and Meijer have issued recalls already regarding their products using cheese made by Deutsch Kase Haus.

Unfortunately, Sargento had two products — Longhorn Colby and Nacho & Taco Cheese — that were produced by Deutsch Kase Haus, and issued a recall on those items. To ensure safety, cheeses that Sargento packaged on the same line as those cheeses were also recalled. Those cheeses include Colby Jack, Pepper Jack, Cheddar Jack, and Taco Cheese.

This was a smart play by Sargento, as Listeria monocytogenes is known for being incredibly hard to get off of food contact surfaces. It grows best in refrigerated environments, and can be responsible for everything from fevers and joint stiffness to nausea, miscarriages in pregnant women, and even death for those with weakened immune systems due to meningitis. If found on processing equipment, it can cause massive recalls and lead to temporary halts in production — similar to what happened with Sabra Hummus toward the end of last year.

Fortunately, nobody has reported illness due to the cheese contaminations thus far, and we hope that this continues as the recalls finalize and cheese potentially tainted with Listeria is removed from the store shelves.


Trader Joe’s And Costco Just Recalled Frozen Veggies In ALL 50 States


If you love frequenting Costco and Trader Joe’s, brace yourselves for some pretty scary news. The US Food and Drug Administration announced CRF Frozen Foods, supplier to both Costco and Trader Joe’s, has issued a voluntary recall of all frozen fruits and vegetables.

The items were all potentially contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. These organisms can cause fatal infections in young children, the elderly and pretty much anyone with a weak immune system. It also can cause high fevers, headaches, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Pretty much everything produced at CRF since May 2014 is getting the recall involving more than 350 brands in all 50 states. Among the affected foods are mixed veggies, berries, corn and stir fry.

According to the FDA, seven people in the US were hospitalized. While two died, the Listeria wasn’t the cause of death for either of them.

You can find the entire list of frozen food products, which the FDA continues to update, on their website.

Packaged Food

Listeria Scare Forces Major Ice Cream Company To Recall All Of Its Products


Blue Bell hasn’t been doing so great after they caught an listeria outbreak in some of its products. The company, known for making a variety of ice cream products, has now issued a voluntary recall of all of its products.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that an outbreak of listeriosis was found in Blue Bell’s products that was linked to several sicknesses and a three deaths.  This prompted a recall of certain Blue Bell products. A short time later, the list of recalled ice cream grew and grew with more traces of listeria discovered.

Listeria can cause serious bacteria infections that can lead to meningitis and sepsis. It mostly affects young children, pregnant women, the elderly and anyone with a weakened immune system.

Stores have since begun removing Blue Bell products from shelves.

Paul Kruse, CEO of Blue Bell, stated that the company cannot say for sure how listeria got into its facilities. After apologizing to loyal customers of the ice cream product, Kruse announced that Blue Bell would immediately recall all of its products from markets until further notice.

Consumers are advised not to consume any Blue Bell products they currently own. They can either chuck them in the trash for return them to the stores for a full refund. Currently, Blue Bell products are sold in 23 different states within the mid-west.



Almost 40,000 Pounds of Foster Farms Chicken Strips Recalled


Foster Farms just can’t catch a break. In July, they had a voluntary recall after traces of salmonella were found in their chicken. Now they are recalling almost 40,000 pounds of chicken strips due to possible listeria contamination.

The Times reported that the 3.5-pound bags of frozen, precooked chicken breast strips are the ones in question. More specifically, the bags with an August 15, 2015, “best by” date.

The contamination was found as the plant was going through a routine inspection, but the set-aside chicken was carelessly shipped out to retailers in California, Texas, Utah and Washington state last month.

There have not been any reported cases of anyone getting sick from the chicken, but listeria  usually affects the elderly, pregnant women, newborns and people with weakened immune systems.

So if you did eat the chicken and get a fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, lose your balance or even just a tummy ache, you might want to see the doc.

H/T LA Times Pic Thx Foster Farms