By: James Peacock

A recall of a variety of Sabra hummus products, a popular hummus brand, in early November has consumers asking themselves if they will soon be succumbing Listeria poisoning. It is speculated that the products subject to the recall have either already expired or been eaten. With an incubation period of anywhere from 3 days to 70 days, many people are wondering if maybe they have already fallen victim. We have compiled information surrounding this recall below for those who have ingested, or believe they have ingested, compromised hummus. As always, if you believe you have eaten any compromised products, or are exhibiting symptoms of Listeriosis, medical attention is encouraged – especially if you have a compromised immune system, are elderly, are a young child, or are pregnant.

Primary Recall

On November 19, 2016, Sabra Dipping Company of Colonial Heights, Virginia issued a voluntary recall for certain lots of hummus products. The recall comes on the heels of the discovery of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in the facility that these products were manufactured in. There have yet to be any pathogen-positive samples taken from the products themselves. However, the risk for contamination is still present, leading to the recall out of an abundance of caution. These products were produced prior to November 8, 2016, and were distributed to supermarkets and food service outlets across the United States and Canada. Products subject to recall can be identified by the “Best Before” date falling on or before January 23, 2017. Varieties of Sabra hummus recalled include classic, garlic, jalapeno, pine nut, red pepper, olive, lemon, and others. A full list of recalled products can be found here.

The recall was just a few days later. On November 23, 2016, Sabra Dipping Co. added a party platter to the recall. The Sabra Party Platter Selects contained the classic variety of Sabra hummus, as well as sliced salami and pre-packaged breadsticks. The party trays can be identified by the number “EST. 9992”, which is found next to the breadsticks. None of the items on the party tray should be consumed, because there is a risk of cross-contamination between the different items. There are no other Sabra products subject to recall. Specifically, Sabra organic hummus, salsa, and Greek yogurt dips are not affected by the recall. There have been no cases of illness linked to this recall.

Secondary Recall

In most cases, the primary recall is sufficient to make sure contaminated products are removed from the market. However, some recalls spawn secondary recalls, which usually surface within a few days of the initial announcement. These recalls are very dangerous, as they often do not receive the same amount of coverage that the primary recall received, and thus are more likely to produce illnesses. The Sabra hummus recall has caused a series of secondary recalls, which follow below.

The first secondary recall came just 2 days after the primary Sabra recall. On November 21, 2016, Taylor Farms issued a recall for a couple of products that were made with Sabra hummus. The first product affected by the recall is Taylor Farms Veggie & Hummus Bistro Box, with a UPC code of 030223010371 and “Use by” dates between November 11 and December 1, 2016. The other product is Schnucks Vegetable and Hummus Snack Tray, which has a UPC code of 041318091939 and “Use by” dates between November 18 and November 23, 2016. There have not been any reports of illness associated with this recall. Recalled products were distributed between October 30 and November 18, 2016, and circulated to retail locations in states including Arkansas, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

Next came a recall from Greencore, USA, which was on November 22, 2016. Fresh to Go Mediterranean Chicken Hummus sandwiches were recalled. These sandwiches, which have a UPC 5254858888, were only produced for 7-Eleven Corporation. This recall affects a limited amount of products, mostly due to the product’s two-day shelf life. Only the lots distributed since October 15. A full list of recalled products can be found here. These sandwiches were distributed to 7-Eleven locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. All 7-Eleven locations have been instructed to destroy any recalled products. There have not been any reports of illness linked to this recall.

Lastly, there have been several recalls made by LSG Sky Chefs Supply Chain Solutions in the wake of the Sabra recall. The company recalled Mediterranean Style Chicken with Hummus, which it had been producing solely for 7-Eleven stores. About 250 recalled sandwiches were produced in the San Jose LSG Sky Chefs facility. About 72 sandwiches were produced in the Las Vegas facility. There was also a recall for Mediterranean Style Chicken with Hummus sandwiches specifically shipped to Washington state. These sandwiches, just over 100 in number, were packaged in clamshells and have the UPC code 052548588885. All of the products have been pulled from stores, but customers who purchased sandwiches between November 18 and November 20 should dispose of them or return them. Recalled products have a ‘best buy’ date between November 19 and November 21. These dates apply not only to this recall, but all subsequent LSG Sky Chefs recalls. Added to these sandwiches are the near 400 Chicken and Hummus sandwiches shipped to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo areas. Like the Mediterranean style sandwiches, these recalled products were shipped only to 7-Eleven locations. So far, there have not been any reports of illness associated with this recall.

Pathogen Information

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that can cause the illness Listeriosis in humans. Listeriosis is a rare, but very serious form of foodborne illness. The CDC estimates that there are only about 1600 cases of Listeria poisoning reported each year in the United States. Nevertheless, the CDC has listed Listeriosis as a major health concern. This is due to the severity of the infection Listeria monocytogenes causes. Because Listeria can lay dormant in the body, it has a very long incubation period. The symptoms of Listeriosis may surface in as few as 3 days. However, it may take up to two months (70 days) after exposure for Listeria bacteria to cause a case of Listeriosis. A case of Listeriosis can cause symptoms including headaches, muscle aches, stiff neck, nausea, and diarrhea. Pregnant women should be especially careful when it comes to Listeria, as Listeriosis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. Those with certain risk factors, including children, the elderly, and those with suppressed immune systems may be at an increased risk of developing a serious case of Listeria poisoning. If you or loved one begins to show the symptoms of Listeriosis, contact a medical professional.