By: James Peacock

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and state health departments all work together to make sure that potentially harmful food contamination are brought to the public’s attention. The recall system operates as the first line of defense in the prevention of foodborne outbreaks. Food recalls, handled by the FSIS if they involve poultry, meats, and eggs or the FDA if they involve pretty much anything else, can be caused by quite a few different reasons. This week, E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and foreign objects caused recalls. The items will be pulled from store shelves, but may still exist in the homes of consumers. Since some of these items have long shelf lives, making the risk for infection even greater as they can still potentially cause infection months or even years after the recall is issued.

E. coli

One of the first recalls last week came from Creation Gardens, Inc. This recall dealt with more than 22,000 pounds of raw beef and beef primal cut products. The Louisville, Kentucky establishment needed to issue the recall after an in-plant inspection on June 5 revealed that there might be an E. coli contamination. After two positive samples, the FSIS was notified and a voluntary recall was issued. The products subject to recall, listed in the table below, were shipped to food service locations in Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. The recalled beef was produced between May 31 and June 2, 2017. In addition to the product codes, which are also listed below, recalled products can be identified by the establishment number “EST. 7914” inside the USDA inspection sticker. There have not been any cases of E. coli poisoning in connection with this recall.

Product Name Number of Packages Recalled Size Product Code
BEEF-GROUND COARSE 80/20 2 20 pounds 00297
BEEF-PATTIES ANGUS 4-1 48 4 ounces 00263
BEEF-PATTIES ANGUS 4-1 48 4 ounces 11062
BEEF-PATTIES BLACK HAWK 24 10 ounces 97675
BEEF-GROUND 80/20 W/SALT CK 1 60 pounds 00239
BEEF-PATTIES BLACK HAWK 30 6 ounces 97673
BEEF-PATTIES STRIP-SHORT RIB 30 6 ounces 32100
BEEF-RIBEYE EXPORT BLACK HAWK 1 30 pounds 79684
BEEF-PATTIES BRISK-SHORT RIB 24 8 ounces 00274
BEEF-SIRLOIN C/C BLACK HAWK 30 6 ounces 00496
BFRESH-BEEF SLIDER 15-2 OZ 1 case N/A 02374
BEEF, PATTIES 75/25 6 OZ STK PAC 30 6 ounces 00249
BEEF, PATTIES 75/25 10 OZ STK PA 24 10 ounces 00248
BEEF-GROUND 80/20 HOUSE BRAND 1 10 pounds 00200
BEEF-PATTIES 100% NATURAL  ANGU 24 7 ounces 00286
BFRESH-PATTIES BRISK/SHORT RIB 8 8 ounces 02309
BEEF-PATTIES BLACK HAWK 24 7 ounces 77749
BEEF-SIRLOIN C/C BLACK HAWK 30 6 ounces 00496
BEEF-PATTIES BRISK-SHORT RIB 24 10 ounces 99943
BEEF-RIBEYE LIPON BLACK HAWK 1 15 pounds 05471
BEEF-PATTIES ANGUS 2-1 24 8 ounces 00258
BEEF-PATTIES ANGUS 3-1 30 5.3 ounces 00261
GROUND, BEEF 75/25 10# 1 10 pounds 00232
BEEF-RIBEYE EXPORT BLACK HAWK 1 30 pounds 79684
BEEF, PATTIES 75/25 2-1 STK PAC 24 8 ounces 00240
BEEF-GROUND 80/20 HOUSE BRAND 4 10 pounds 00299

E. coli infections remain one of the most common forms of foodborne illness in the Unites States. These bacteria will also be commonly referred to as E. coli (STEC). The CDC estimates that there are around 265,000 cases of E. coli poisoning each year in the United States. After exposure to even a small amount of bacteria, it is possible for an infection to develop. Symptoms of the infection will usually occur between 3 and 4 days after exposure, but E. coli infections can begin to cause symptoms anywhere between 1 and 9 days after exposure. Symptoms of an E. coli infection will typically include severe cramping, vomiting, nausea, and watery or bloody diarrhea. There is sometimes a low-grade fever associated with the infection as well. These symptoms will, much of the time, go away on their own after about a week, but can last longer. There are a couple of complications associated with an E. coli infection. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which can be very serious if left untreated. E. coli infections can also cause a rare but potentially fatal complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which occurs in about 3 to 7 percent of E. coli cases. HUS damages red blood cells, which are then sent to the kidneys in order to be filtered out. The damage from the filtration process, coupled with the increased rate of damage inflicted on the kidneys by shiga toxins, can lead to serious kidney damage and even kidney failure. If a case of E. coli poisoning has progressed to HUS, symptoms such as decreased frequency in urination, fatigue, and loss of color in the eyes and cheeks will be present. HUS is a very serious complication that needs to be treated as quickly as possible. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of E. coli poisoning, contact a medical professional.

Foreign Objects

The next day, on June 6, a recall was issued for two lots of cashews because it was discovered that they may have glass in them. Star Snacks Co., which is based in Jersey City, New Jersey, included two lots of Southern Grove Cashew Halves and Pieces with Sea Salt with the voluntary recall. The cashews were packaged in 8-ounce containers, and can be identified by the UPC code 041498179366. Recalled products will also have the Best by date of 11/27/18 or 11/28/18 printed on the bottom of the can. Star Snacks Co. shipped these cashews to ALDI stores in West Virginia, Alabama, Wisconsin, Arkansas, California, Florida, Washington D.C., Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and South Dakota. No reports of injury have been reported, and no other Star Snacks products are subject to the recall.

On June 10, all lots of Trader Joe’s brand Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream were recalled by the Monrovia, California based company. The recall was issued because there is a chance that small metal pieces may be present in the product. The products are packaged in 1-quart tubs, and are marked with the SKU number 055740. Trader Joe’s reports that all potentially affected products have been removed from store shelves. No illnesses or injuries have been reported, but it is recommended that consumers do not eat any recalled ice cream. Consumers are encouraged to wither throw away the recalled products or return them to Trader Joe’s for a full refund.

Listeria monocytogenes

Listeria was the cause of three recalls this past week, the first one involving Queso Fresco/Whole Milk Cheese made by Global Garlic Inc. This recall is actually an expansion of a recall that originally was issued last month. The Miami, Florida company is now recalling packages of “Queso Fresco/Whole Milk Cheese” and “Queso Fresco x LB(Barra)/Whole Milk Cheese” out of concern that they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. These products were distributed throughout Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, Louisiana, and Kentucky. The Queso Fresco 16 ounce packages can be identified by the UPC code 8-96211-00235-9 and an expiration date of September 19, 2017. The Queso Fresco x LB(Barra) products were shipped in clear plastic bags, and each package weighed around 5 to 6 pounds. Although these larger bags did not have a UPC code, they can be identified by the expiration date of June 17, 2017.

Listeria also caused a recall relating to soy bean sprouts. On June 7, Happy Sprout Inc. issued a recall for Good Seed brand soybean sprouts after it became clear that they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Three varieties of sprouts were recalled, all of which are listed in the table below. The contamination was spotted after routine surveillance done by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services revealed the contamination. These items were distributed to retail stores in Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey. No illnesses have been linked to the recall.

Product Name Size UPC code Production Date
Good Seed Soy Bean Sprouts 1 pound 21111 10035 On or after May 1
Good Seed Soy Bean Sprouts 2 pounds 21112 58772 On or after May 1
Good Seed Soy bean Sprouts 10 pounds N/A On or after May 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Club Chef LLC issued a recall for a limited number of retail snack kits after learning that they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The recall was issued on June 8, after samples taken from the facility tested positive for Listeria. No products have tested positive for Listeria, but the products still needed to be recalled due to the potential for contamination. Products subject to the recall were processed on May 30 and May 31, 2017. The full list of recalled products can be found on the table provided below. The Sell By dates can be located on the center of the top label, while the UPC code can be found on the bottom panel. There are quite a few states affected by the recall, including South Carolina, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee. No cases of illness have been connected to this recall.

Product Name Brand Name Size Use By Dates UPC code Lot codes
Veggie Tray with Apples Fresh Selections by Kroger 6.25 ounces 06/11/2017 and 06/12/2017 1111091544 7150KT8
Fruit Tray with Carrots Fresh Selections by Kroger 7 ounces 06/11/2017 and 06/12/2017 1111091451 7150KT5, 7151KT3
Veggie Tray with Pretzels Fresh Selections by Kroger 5.75 ounces 06/11/2017 and 06/12/2017 1111091477 7150KT6, 7150KT8
Veggie Tray with Snap Peas Fresh Selections by Kroger 6 ounces 06/11/2017 and 06/12/2017 1111091484 7150KT7, 7150KT8
Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip Fresh Selections by Kroger 6.75 ounces 06/11/2017 and 06/12/2017 1111091472 7151KT3, 7150KT6
Snack Tray with Almonds & Apples Fresh Selections by Kroger 5.75 ounces 06/11/2017 and 06/12/2017 1111091481 7150KT5, 7150KT7
Snack Tray with Baby Carrots, Sliced Apples, Raw Almonds, and Cheddar Bar Club Chef LLC 5.75 ounces 06/11/2017 and 06/12/2017 017278007037 7150KT6
Snack Tray with Peanut Butter (Celery Sticks, Sliced Apples, Peanut Butter and Raisins) Club Chef LLC 5.5 ounces 06/11/2017 and 06/12/2017 017278007044 715KT6
Snack Tray with Sliced Apples, Almonds, Raisins, and Caramel Dip Club Chef LLC 4 ounces 06/11/2017 and 06/12/2017 017278007013 715KT6
Veggie Tray with Carrots, Celery, Broccoli florets, and Ranch Dip Club Chef LLC 6.75 ounces 06/11/2017 and 06/12/2017 017278007020 715KT6

Listeria is one of the less common forms of food poisoning, but it is still a very dangerous pathogen. Causing about 1600 illnesses a year, as estimated by the CDC, Listeria poisoning can manifest itself in one of two forms. In those with relatively healthy immune systems, Listeria presents itself as a gastrointestinal illness, causing symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In some cases though, and especially in the elderly and immunocompromised, Listeria can turn invasive, causing headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Invasive Listeria is potentially fatal, as it can enter the nervous system and cause meningitis. Pregnant women are also at an increased risk of developing a serious case of Listeria poisoning. Listeria may cause a flu-like infection in pregnant women, but can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. These symptoms can appear anywhere between 3 and 70 days after the Listeria bacteria is ingested. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of Listeria poisoning, contact a medical professional.

 

Sources:

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm562129.htm

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm561927.htm

http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/press-releases-170607-sprouts.shtml

https://twitter.com/VaAgriculture/status/872532149941002240?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2017/recall-059-2017-release

https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm562590.htm

http://www.traderjoes.com/announcement/recall-potential-foreign-matter-metal-in-matcha-green-tea-ice-cream