By: James Peacock

Over the course of the last week, there have been an assortment of recalls made for quite a few different food items. Whether it be for Listeria monocytogenes contamination, foreign objects, or undeclared allergens, these recalls were ordered by health officials because of their potential for causing illness.

Listeria monocytogenes

Listeria is our top issue in recalls this week, having been found in burritos, ready-to-eat fresh spinach, and cheese.

On May 13, 2017, a recall was issued by Green Chile Concepts, LLC, for Green Chile Food Company brand frozen burritos. The recall was started by a regulatory agency who discovered a potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination. These burritos were served in a variety of ways, in convenience stores, vending machines, and also in retail locations across the United States. The products were shipped from Green Chile Concepts to distribution centers in California, South Dakota, Oregon, and Illinois. The products were shipped in packages of 12 units per package. Production dates on the cases are between March 8 and May 10, 2017. Recalled products are marked with Julian dates between 17067 and 17130. A wide variety of burritos were recalled, including Fiesta, Beef and Potato, Bean and Cheese, Chicken Poblano, Egg and Bacon, Egg and Sausage, Beef with Potato, Chicken Fajita, Beef and Bean, Carnitas, and others. More information about the recall, including UPC codes and Item numbers, can be found here. No other varieties of burrito are being recalled, and there have been no illnesses connected to this recall.

Spinach and cheese are again hit with recalls relating to potential Listeria contamination.

According to the FDA’s announcement concerning the recall of fresh spinach, “The Horton Fruit Co., Inc. (“Horton”) of Louisville, KY is voluntarily recalling select bags and containers of fresh spinach because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.   The company was alerted to the potential of contamination by their supplier partners, and conducting a subsequent internal investigation.” The FDA provided the following table concerning the recalled products:

10oz. Bag PEAK brand Fresh Curly Leaf spinach
“Best If Used By 05/11/17”
UPC 0-78951-50002-3
10oz. Bag HARRIS TEETER FARMER’S MARKET brand Ready-To-Eat Leaf spinach
“Best If Used By 05/11/17”
UPC 0-72036-88023-9
2.5 lb. Bag PEAK brand fresh spinach
Orange sticker dated “05/13/17”
Case label pack date of 05/01/17
 

 

These products were sold in several states, including: North Carolina, Illinois, Kentucky and West Virginia and distributed through retail stores, wholesale, and foodservice distributors.

The concern for ready-to-eat cheese is again rekindled in the latest recall of Florida-based La Nica Products, Inc. products. The company recalled six thousand pounds of cheese on May 12, 2017 for the potential of Listeria contamination. According to the FDA’s website:

“The Queso Duro Blando / Hard White Cheese (Morolique) was distributed only in the state of California through supermarkets and other retail stores.

The cheese being recalled comes in one pound opaque plastic bags (16 oz.) with the name:

  • Quesos De La Costa
  • Queso Duro Blando
  • Hard Soft Cheese

The name is surrounded by an orange border and there is a small cow on the label. It is a white cheese. The cheese has an expiration date of August 31, 2017 and a UPC code of 8 52304 74023 2. The lot number of this cheese is 254.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall is the result of sampling by the Florida Department of Agriculture which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria.  The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product. This recall is being done with the knowledge of the FDA.”

Listeria monocytogenes poisoning is a rare but serious form of foodborne illness. The CDC estimates that there are about 1600 cases of Listeria infection each year in the United States. Listeria monocytogenes bacteria cause an illness called Listeriosis. A Listeriosis infection will produce symptoms between 3 and 70 days after the initial exposure to the bacteria. Once the infection surfaces, it will produce symptoms including headaches, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea, and stiff neck. Those with certain risk factors, including the elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with suppressed immune systems may be at an increased risk of developing a serious Listeria infection. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of a Listeria infection, contact a medical professional.

Undeclared Allergens

Ford Brothers Wholesale Meats, Inc, of West Valley, New York, issued a recall for more than 4,000 pounds of beef patties after concerns arose that they may contain soy, a potential allergen that is not declared on the product label. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall on May 8, 2017. These products were manufactured between August 26, 2016 and May 4, 2017, and were distributed to wholesale locations across New York. The recall affects 4 different sizes of Mineo & Sapio Beef Patties, ranging from 4 to 10 patties per pound. Recalled products are marked with the establishment code “EST. 4625”. More information about the recall can be found here. No illness or injuries have been linked to this recall.

On May 10, 2017, Mikawaya, an ice cream company, issued a recall for Mikawaya Brand Chocolate Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream. The products were recalled because they may have been exposed to peanut butter over the course of production. Recalled products are only from one lot, LOT 090-17. This lot is labeled with the UPC code 070934990609. Both numbers can be found on the back of the box. The 9.1 ounce boxes were distributed to Trader Joe’s stores nationwide. The products have since been removed from the selves, but the product may still be in the freezers of consumers. No illnesses or reactions have been reported at this point. No other Mikawaya brand products are being recalled.

Allergens are different than most causes of foodborne issues in that while exposure to bacteria or a virus may lead to the development of illness, exposure to allergens triggers an allergic reaction. These reactions can come in the form of itchiness, cramps, shortness of breath, and difficulty swallowing. In rare cases, an allergic reaction can cause a side effect called anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. Pretty much everything could be a potential allergen, but there are some items that more commonly cause issues, such as wheat, gluten, eggs, milk, pine nuts, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and sesame. Because allergies to those allergens are common, the FDA requires all items containing them to be marked as such. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of an allergic reaction, contact a medical professional. If a person appears to be suffering from anaphylaxis, you may need to use an Epi-pen to calm their symptoms before help arrives.

Foreign Objects

On May 8, 2017, a recall was issued by Publix Super Markets for a Deli Artichoke and Spinach Dip. The products are being recalled because they may contain glass fragments. Recalled dips are packaged in 16 ounce containers, and can be identified with the UPC code of 0004141515961. Recalled products will also have the use by date of wither May 16 A1 or May 16 C1 printed on the lid of the container. The Publix Deli Artichoke and Spinach Dip subject to the recall was distributed to Publix stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. Within the stores, these products can be found in the deli’s refrigerated cases. No injuries have been reported because of the glass contamination.

Several days later, on May 11, another product was recalled for foreign objects, this time plastic. Trident Seafoods Corporation issued a voluntary recall for several lots of frozen cod products. Only one product, Trident Seafoods Multi-Grain Alaskan Cod, is under recall. The products are packaged in 12 ounce containers, and are marked with the UPC code 028029210484. Two separate lots have been recalled. The first lot, A636225, was distributed to Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Washington, Massachusetts, Illinois, and California. The other lot, A633511, was distributed to all of the same states, as well as Minnesota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. All products were shipped to Albertsons, Amazon, Cub Foods, Jewel, Morey’s, Plaza Extra, Sprouts, Supervalu, Woodman’s, Shaw’s, and Shoprite.

 

Sources:

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm557582.htm

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm558064.htm

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm557777.htm

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm558586.htm

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm558908.htm

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm558398.htm

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2017/recall-046-2017-release