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Listeria Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Listeria News & Outbreaks

Smoothies Recalled Because of Listeria

Inventure Foods, Inc. of Phoenix, Arizona, has issued a precautionary recall of its RADER FARMS® Fresh Start Smoothie Blend, Fresh Start Sunrise Refresh Fusion, and Fresh Start Daily Power Fusion because of a potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although 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.

These recalled blends themselves did not test positive for Listeria monocytogenes. However, Listeria monocytogenes was detected on spinach and/or kale ingredients on another lot which is currently placed on hold. These spinach and kale ingredients used to manufacture the recalled blends were supplied by the same outside party.

Fresh Start Smoothie Blend is distributed in 48 oz. (3 lbs.) packages at Costco in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan of Canada.

The Fresh StartSunrise Refresh Fusion and Fresh StartDaily Power Fusion products are distributed in 35 oz. packages at Walmart in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The packages carry the Rader Farms and Fresh Start logos and are sold in the frozen fruit aisle of the store.

When Cheese with Listeria Kills

Washington State health and agriculture officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on an ongoing outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to consumption of Latin-style soft cheese produced by Queseria Bendita, a Yakima, Washington firm.

As of January 16, 2015, a total of three cases have been identified from Washington in King, Pierce and Yakima counties. One illness was pregnancy-associated, two people were hospitalized and one death was reported. The affected products made by the Yakima-based Queseria Bendita are subject to a voluntary recall and the firm has stopped producing cheese.

Health officials are warning consumers who may have purchased these three Queseria Bendita brand cheeses: Queso Fresco, Panela, and Requeson and still have it in their refrigerators to throw the product away and not eat it. Grocery stores and distributors should pull and not sell these products.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The disease affects primarily older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and persons with weakened immune systems. Approximately 11 to 29 cases of listeriosis are reported in Washington each year.

Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Blood stream infections or meningitis may occur. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness; however, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn. Symptoms often begin three weeks after infection, but it could take anywhere from three to 70 days.

Kroger Recalls Listeria Tainted Caramel Apples

Happy Apples is expanding their voluntary recall of caramel apples to include Kroger Brand caramel apples produced by Happy Apple Company with a best use by date between September 15th and November 18th 2014, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Kroger brand caramel apples produced by Happy Apple Company are sold in single packs and three packs and each package will have a best use by date on the front of the label. They were distributed to the following states: Arizona, Alaska, Kansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

We have been working with the Food and Drug Administration in their investigation of the current outbreak of Listeriosis which has been associated with caramel apples. We recently received notice from Bidart Brothers, one of our apple suppliers to our California facility that there may be a connection between this outbreak and the apples that they supplied to that facility.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although 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.

Happy Apples ceased operations at the end of October as part of our normal, seasonal shut down and the caramel apples produced are no longer available in stores, however, out of deep concern for public safety, we are recommending that consumers follow the advice of the CDC and remove any caramel apples you may have in storage and dispose of them in a secure container to avoid potential contamination in animals.

Arizona (4), California (2), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), Nevada (1), New Mexico (6), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3) report Listeria Illnesses Linked to Caramel Apples

The CDC reports this morning that as of December 30, 2014, a total of 32 people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 11 states: Arizona (4), California (2), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), Nevada (1), New Mexico (6), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3). Dates when the Listeria strains were isolated range from October 17, 2014, to December 11, 2014. Ten illnesses have been associated with a pregnancy (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant). One fetal loss has been reported. Among people whose illnesses were not associated with a pregnancy, ages ranged from 7 to 92 years, with a median age of 66 years, and 32% were female. Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) occurred among otherwise healthy children aged 5–15 years. Thirty-one ill people have been hospitalized and six deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to three of these deaths, and it is unclear whether it contributed to an additional two deaths. The sixth death was unrelated to listeriosis.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has identified 2 cases of listeriosis in Canada with the same PFGE patterns as seen in the US outbreak.  PHAC is working with its provincial and territorial partners to determine the source of these illnesses.

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin Got Listeria-Tainted Caramel Apples

From an FDA Christmas Eve Recall Notice:  Happy Apples, is issuing a voluntary recall of Happy Apple Brand caramel apples with a best use by date between August 25th and November 23rd 2014, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although 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.

Happy Apple caramel apples are sold in single pack, three packs, four packs and eight packs and each package will have a best use by date on the front of the label. They were available for retail sale through grocery, discount and club stores, generally in the produce section and were distributed to retailers in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin.

As has been reported in the news, the Center for Disease Control has noted 29 illnesses in 10 states linked to the outbreak and they have advised consumers not to eat commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apples until more is known.  Canada has also reported to likely Listeria illnesses.

Two Listeria Illnesses Linked to Ice Cream Shipped to Arizona, Idaho, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

Yesterday, Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream, Inc. issued a voluntary recall of all ice cream, gelato, custard and sorbet for all flavors and container sizes produced on or after January 1, 2014 until December 15, 2014 because these products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The voluntary recall was initiated based on the confirmation positive result of Listeria monocytogenes in the samples collected within the production facility and analyzed by Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).  However, today the Washington State Department of Health (WSDH), confirmed that at least two people – both men in their 50’s have been hospitalized in Seattle with Listeria infections linked to the recalled ice cream.

The ice cream, gelato, custard and sorbet were distributed in Arizona, Idaho, California, Oregon, and Washington may have been further distributed and sold in various retail outlets in Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

The products are labeled Snoqualmie Ice Cream, Snoqualmie Gelato, Snoqualmie Custard, Snoqualmie Sorbet or Emerald & Spruce Ice Cream or Top Pot Hand Forged Ice Cream and have a production date code located on the bottom of the container.  The date codes included either end in “4”, e.g. XXX4 (pints and cups) or are listed by date: January 1, 2014 through December 15, 2014 (trays & tubs).

CDC Listeria Warning: “do not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings”

As of December 22, 2014, a total of 29 people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 10 states: Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3). Illness onset dates range from October 17, 2014, to November 27, 2014. Nine illnesses have been associated with a pregnancy (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant). No miscarriages or fetal losses have been reported. Among people whose illnesses were not associated with a pregnancy, ages ranged from 7 to 92 years, with a median age of 66 years, and 41% were female. Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) occurred among otherwise healthy children aged 5–15 years. All 29 ill people have been hospitalized and, five deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to three of these deaths and it is unclear whether it contributed to a fourth. The fifth death was unrelated to listeriosis.

The information CDC has at this time indicates that commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples may be contaminated with Listeria. Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness. In interviews, ill people answered questions about foods consumed and other exposures in the month before becoming ill. To date, 20 (87%) of the 23 ill people interviewed reported eating commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming ill. At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged or to caramel candy. Although limited information is currently available about the specific brand(s) of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples consumed, the finding that most of the ill people reported consuming these apples suggests that these Listeria infections are likely related to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples. Investigators are rapidly working to determine specific brands or types of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples that may be linked to illnesses and to identify the source of contamination.

At this point in the investigation, CDC’s Advice to Consumers remains the same. Out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends that U.S. consumers not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, until more specific guidance can be provided.

Multi-state listeriosis outbreak includes Washington

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is working with FDA and public health officials in several states to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples. The caramel apples were bought at supermarkets in single or 3 pack plastic clamshell packaging. There is no specific product or company linked to the outbreak at this time, and therefore there is no food recall yet.

To date, there have been 29 illness cases reported from 10 states, including 26 hospitalizations and 5 deaths. There has been one associated illness case in WA (Thurston County). For additional details about the multistate listeriosis outbreak,  see the following link:

http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/caramel-apples-12-14/index.html

CDC is recommending the public not to eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples at this time. We concur with this recommendation. For additional guidance from DOH, see our newsroom update at: http://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom.

Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak in Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1) and Wisconsin (2)

As of December 18, 2014, a total of 28 people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 10 states.  Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1) and Wisconsin (2). 26 ill people have been hospitalized. Among the 26 people hospitalized, five deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to at least four of these deaths.  Nine illnesses were pregnancy-related (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant).  Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) were among otherwise healthy children aged 5–15 years.

The information CDC has at this time indicates that commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples may be contaminated with Listeria. Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness. In interviews, ill persons answered questions about foods consumed and other exposures in the month before becoming ill.   At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged or to caramel candy. Although limited information is currently available about the specific brand(s) of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples consumed, the finding that most of the ill people reported consuming these apples suggests that these Listeria infections are likely related to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples. Investigators are rapidly working to determine specific brands or types of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples that may be linked to illnesses and to identify the source of contamination.

Out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends that U.S. consumers not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, until more specific guidance can be provided. These products could have a shelf life of more than one month.

Caramel Apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods Linked to Listeria Illnesses and Deaths in Minnesota

Two Deaths confirmed.

The Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis linked to eating caramel apples.

Four people in Minnesota have become ill as part of this outbreak. All were adults ages 59 to 90 years. They became ill in late October and November. All were hospitalized and two died.

Health officials are warning consumers who may have purchased any pre-packaged, commercially-produced caramel apples, including caramel apples with other toppings such as nuts, chocolate, and sprinkles, to not eat them until more information from the investigation becomes available.

Minnesota cases purchased caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods, which carried Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples. These two brands are no longer available for purchase at retail locations; however, health officials are concerned that persons who purchased them may still have them in their homes. The investigation is evolving, and other caramel apple brands and locations may also be impacted. Minnesota officials are working with national partners to determine the scope of products impacted. Consumers should not eat any brands of commercially-produced pre-packaged caramel apples until additional information is available. At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not pre-packaged.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The disease affects primarily older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and persons with weakened immune systems. On average, seven cases of listeriosis are reported in Minnesota each year. Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness; however, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn. Symptoms begin from 3 to 70 days after consuming the bacteria.

Anyone who believes they may have become ill with listeriosis should contact their health care provider.