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Listeria Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Listeria News & Outbreaks

Blue Bell Knowingly Sold Ice Cream From A Plant With Listeria

The three Blue Bell “483’s” – FDA Inspection Reports are here:

Broken Arrow, OK

Observation #1:  Failure to manufacture and package foods under conditions and controls necessary to minimize the potential for growth of microorganisms and contamination.

Observation #2:  Failure to perform microbial testing where necessary to identify sanitation failures and possible food contamination.

Observation #3:  The procedure used for cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and utensils has not been shown to provide adequate cleaning and sanitizing treatment.

Observation #4:  Failure to provide running water at a suitable temperature for cleaning equipment, utensils and food-packaging materials.

Observation #5:  The plant is not constructed in such a manner as to prevent drip and condensate from contaminating food, food-contact surfaces, and food-packaging materials.

Observation #6:  Employees did not wash and sanitize hands thoroughly in an adequate hand-washing facility after each absence from the work station and at any time their hands may have become soiled or contaminated.

Observation #7:  Failure to store cleaned and sanitized portable equipment in a location and manner which protects food-contact surfaces from contamination.

Observation #8:  All reasonable precaution are not taken to ensure that production procedures do not contribute contamination from any source.

Observation #9:  The design of equipment does not allow proper cleaning and maintenance.

Observation #10: Failure to hold foods which can support the rapid growth of undesirable microorganisms at a temperature that prevents the food from becoming adulterated.

Observation #11: Failure to have smoothly bonded or well maintained seams on food contact surfaces, to minimize accumulation of food particles and organic matter and the opportunity for growth of microorganisms.

Observation #12: Failure to take apart equipment as necessary to ensure thorough cleaning.

Brenham, TX

Observation #1: Failure to manufacture foods under conditions and controls necessary to minimize the potential for growth of microorganisms.

Observation #2: The procedure used for cleaning and sanitizing of equipment has not been shown to provide adequate cleaning and sanitizing treatment.

Observation #3: The plant is not constructed in such a manner as to prevent condensate from contaminating food and food-contact surfaces.

Observation #4: Failure to clean food-contact surfaces as frequently as necessary to protect against contamination of food.

Observation #5: Failure to wear beard covers in an effective manner.

Observation #6: Failure to maintain buildings in repair sufficient to prevent food from becoming contaminated.

Sylacauga, AL

Observation #1: Failure to perform microbial testing where necessary to identify possible food contamination.

Observation #2: Suitable outer garments are not worn that protect against contamination of food and food contact surfaces.

Observation #3: Failure to maintain food contact surfaces to protect food from contamination by any source, including unlawful indirect food additives.

Observation #4: The design and materials of equipment and utensils does not allow proper cleaning.

Observation #5: All reasonable precautions are not taken to ensure that production procedures do not contribute contamination from any source.

Observation #6: Employees did not wash and sanitize hands thoroughly in an adequate hand-washing facility at any time their hands may have become soiled or contaminated.

Observation #7: The plaint is not constructed in such a manner as to prevent condensate from contaminating food-contact surfaces.

Observation #8: Non food-contact equipment in manufacturing areas is not constructed so that it can be kept in a clean condition.

Listeria monocytogenes Prompts Sprout Recalls

Good Seed Inc. of Springfield, Virginia has issued a recall of soybean and mung bean sprouts for possible listeria contamination.

The company issued the recall on its one-, two- and ten-pound products produced on or after April 1.

The contamination was discovered after sampling by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Food Safety Program.

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious, sometimes fatal, infections in people with weakened immune systems.

Healthy individuals may suffer from high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. In pregnant women, listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

Consumers who bought the soybean and mung bean sprouts in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey or North Carolina should return them to the store for a full refund.

This is the second recall for soybean sprouts from a company in Virginia.

On April 3, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a recall for soybean sprouts produced by Henry’s Farms Inc., in Woodford.

That recall was also due to listeria contamination for products produced on or after March 24 and sold in Virginia or Maryland.

Continue reading for a list of the Good Seed Inc. products that have been recalled:

  • 1-lb bags of soybean sprouts in clear plastic bags labeled “GOODSEED Soy Bean Sprouts” “Keep Refrigerated” with a UPC Code of “21111 10035” produced on or after April 1, 2015.
  • 2-lb bags of soybean sprouts in clear plastic bags labeled “GOODSEED Soy Bean Sprouts” “Keep Refrigerated” with a UPC Code of “21112 58772” produced on or after April 1, 2015.
  • 10-lb bags of soybean sprouts in black plastic bags labeled with a sticker “GOODSEED Soy Bean Sprouts” produced on or after April 1, 2015.
  • 1-lb bags of mung bean sprouts in clear plastic bags labeled “GOODSEED Mung Bean Sprouts” “Keep Refrigerated” with a UPC code of “21111 20136” produced on or after April 1, 2015.
  • 2-lb bags of mung bean sprouts in clear plastic bags labeled “GOODSEED Mung Bean Sprouts” “Keep Refrigerated” with a UPC code of “21111 25871” produced on or after April 1, 2015.
  • 10-lb bags of mung bean sprouts in clear plastic bags labeled with a sticker “GOODSEED Mung Bean Sprouts” produced on or after April 1, 2015.

Listeria Test Prompts Vegetable Recall

Greystone Foods, LLC voluntarily recalls Today’s Harvest Field Peas with Snaps, Silver Queen Corn, and Broccoli Florets with the sell by date 04/21/16 shipped to Publix Supermarkets warehouse in Lakeland, FL warehouse due to possible health risk.

Greystone Foods, LLC of Birmingham, Alabama is recalling any Today’s Harvest frozen Field Peas with Snaps, Broccoli Florets, and Silver Queen Corn with the sell by date of 04/21/16 because they have 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, headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Greystone Foods, LLC voluntarily recalls Today’s Harvest Field Peas with Snaps, Silver Queen Corn, and Broccoli Florets with the sell by date 04/21/16 shipped to Publix Supermarkets warehouse in Lakeland, FL warehouse due to possible health risk. To the best of our knowledge, none of these items left their warehouse. In an abundance of caution, Publix has decided to remove these items from their stores. No other grocers are involved in this recall.

These products come in 32 ounce clear plastic bags and are located in the freezer section of Publix. The sell by date of 04/21/16 is printed along the bottom seal of the bag in black ink.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The potential for contamination was noted after we were informed by our supplier that an area of their facility where the field peas with snaps were blended tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes on a non-food contact surface. All products involved in this recall were quickly identified and removed from commerce.

All Blue Bell Ice Cream Recalled

Case Count Update

As of April 21, 2015, a total of ten patients infected with several strains of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from four states: Arizona (1), Kansas (5), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (3). Illness onset dates ranged from January 2010 through January 2015. The patients with illness onsets ranging from 2010-2014 were identified through a retrospective review of the PulseNet database for DNA fingerprints that were similar to isolates collected from Blue Bell ice cream samples. Since the last update on April 8, 2015, two additional patients, one each from Arizona and Oklahoma, were confirmed to be a part of the outbreak by whole genome sequencing. All ten (100%) patients were hospitalized. Three deaths were reported from Kansas.

One additional isolate from a patient with listeriosis is undergoing further molecular laboratory testing to determine whether this illness may be related to this outbreak. Results of this testing will be reported once they are available. CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance through PulseNet to identify any other ill persons that may be part of this outbreak.

Investigation Update

On April 20, 2015, Blue Bell Creameries voluntarily recalled all of its products currently on the market made at all of its facilities, including ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, and frozen snacks, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Blue Bell announced this recall after sampling by the company revealed that Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream half gallons produced on March 17, 2015 and March 27, 2015 contained the bacteria. Listeria monocytogenes was previously found in other Blue Bell products. CDC recommends that consumers do not eat any Blue Bell brand products, and that institutions and retailers do not serve or sell them.

 

Blue Bell Should Have Been Testing For Listeria Years Ago

Blue Bell Ice Cream of Brenham, Texas, is voluntarily recalling all of its products currently on the market made at all of its facilities including ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks because they have 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 headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The products being recalled are distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts, convenience stores and supermarkets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma,  South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and international locations.

Today’s decision was the result of findings from an enhanced sampling program initiated by Blue Bell which revealed that Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream half gallons produced on March 17, 2015, and March 27, 2015, contained the bacteria. This means Blue Bell has now had several positive tests for Listeria in different places and plants and as previously reported five patients were treated in Kansas and three in Texas after testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

Blue Bell is implementing a procedure called “test and hold” for all products made at all of its manufacturing facilities. This means that all products will be tested first and held for release to the market only after the tests show they are safe. The Broken Arrow facility will remain closed as Blue Bell continues to investigate.In addition to the “test and hold” system, Blue Bell is implementing additional safety procedures and testing including:

–          Expanding our already robust system of daily cleaning and sanitizing of equipment

–          Expanding our system of swabbing and testing our plant environment by 800 percent to include more surfaces

–          Sending samples daily to a leading microbiology laboratory for testing

–          Providing additional employee training

Taylor Farms Recalls Listeria Spinach

WBTV South Carolina reports that The spinach that was served at ten Lancaster County Schools has been recalled.

The 10 schools included in the recall are A.R. Rucker Middle, Brooklyn Springs Elementary, Buford Elementary, Buford High, Erwin Elementary, Harrisburg Elementary, Heath Springs Elementary, Indian Land Elementary, Indian Land Middle and McDonald Green Elementary.

Letters have been sent out to the parents of students who attend schools impacted by the recall.

The Lancaster County School District said they received a notice this week from one of its product providers about the spinach recall.

Taylor Farms’ spinach has been recalled because it may have been contaminated with a bacteria that can cause Listeriosis.

“So far, no one in our schools or any of the other customers who received and used the spinach has reported any illness,” superintendent Gene Moore said. “Despite that, we wanted to alert parents in case their children showed symptoms of Listeriosis.”

The school district released the following list of symptoms:

  • If a person develops a Listeria infection, he/she may experience fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea.
  • Symptoms may begin a few days after the person has eaten contaminated food, but it may take as long as two months before the first signs and symptoms of infection begin. The incubation period is usually one day to three weeks.
  • If the Listeria infection spreads to the nervous system, signs and symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion or changes in alertness, loss of balance and convulsions.
  • Pregnant women typically experience fever and other non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to life-threatening complications for the baby.

You are encouraged to see a doctor if any of the following happen:

  • If a person has eaten food recalled because of a Listeria outbreak, he/she should pay close attention to any possible signs or symptoms of illness and contact his/her Health Care Provider.
  • If a person experiences symptoms indicating possible nervous system involvement, the person should seek emergency care immediately.

Dirie Farm Raw Milk Consumers Warned of Listeria Test

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today warned consumers in Sullivan County and the surrounding area not to consume unpasteurized raw farm milk from the Richard Dirie Farm due to possible Listeria contamination.  The Dirie Farm is located at 1345 Shandelee Road, Livingston Manor, New York, 12758.

A sample of the milk, collected by an inspector from the department’s Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services on April 7, 2015 was subsequently tested by the Department’s Food Laboratory and discovered to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

On April 9, 2015, the producer was notified of a preliminary positive test result. He volunteered to suspend raw milk sales until the sample results were confirmed.  Further laboratory testing, completed on April 15, 2015, confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the raw milk sample.

This is the second time in seven months that the state Department of Agriculture and Markets found the bacteria in the farm’s raw milk. It was also found in October, said owner Richard Dirie. But he says they were able to correct the problem – an issue with the water valve controlling the water’s temperature – fairly quickly.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, cancer patients, elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. People who are otherwise healthy may suffer only short-term, flu-like symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

It is important to note that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization, which eliminates all pathogenic bacteria, including Listeria.

Listeria Outbreak Prompts Texas Warning

Multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to Blue Bell Ice Cream; Recommendation to test patients at increased risk of invasive listeriosis who have compatible symptoms

Healthcare providers should test patients who have fever and other symptoms consistent with listeriosis, are at increased risk of invasive listeriosis, and may have been exposed to Listeria through a potentially contaminated product. Diagnostic testing should include cultures of blood and other specimens, such as cerebrospinal fluid, as indicated by the clinical presentation.

People at high risk for invasive listeriosis include pregnant women, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems. The incubation period for invasive Listeria infection is typically a few days to one month, but can be up to 70 days. Symptoms may include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Persons who have consumed any recalled Blue Bell Creameries products are at risk of exposure. Exact product descriptions and codes for recalled products can be found at http://cdn.bluebell.com/the_little_creamery/press_releases/broken-arrow-expands-recall.

Additional products not subject to the recall but made at the company’s Oklahoma facility might also potentially pose a risk. Blue Bell brand products made at the Oklahoma facility can be identified by checking for letters “O,” “P,” “Q,” “R,” “S,” and “T” following the ”code date” printed on the bottom of the product package.

DSHS is providing the accompanying CDC guidance document, “Suggested framework for medical management of people at elevated risk for invasive listeriosis who are exposed to Listeria monocytogenes,” as a resource for healthcare providers. Although the guidance document suggests stool culture as an option, it is important to note that stool testing for Listeria has not been evaluated as a screening tool for listeriosis. In general, it is not recommended for the diagnosis of listeriosis.

Healthcare providers and laboratories should promptly report confirmed listeriosis cases to their local health department or the Texas Department of State Health Services (Phone: 1-800-705-8868, Fax: 512-776-7616). All Listeria monocytogenes isolates should be sent to the DSHS laboratory.

Information about the Listeria outbreak linked to Blue Bell Ice Cream is available at:

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/ice-cream-03-15/index.html

FDA: http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm438104.htm

DSHS: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/default.shtm

Hummus Recalled Over Listeria

ucm442105Today Sabra Dipping Co., LLC announced that it is voluntarily recalling approximately 30,000 cases of its Classic Hummus due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. This measure is limited to five SKUs of Classic Hummus sold nationwide.  To date, no other Sabra product is affected by this recall.

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.

To date, there have been no reports indicating that these products have caused any illness.

The products being recalled are listed below and were distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts and supermarkets, in the U.S. Consumers can find code and use by dates on the top of each package.

UPC/SKU Item Use by Dates Affected Areas
040822011143 / 300067 Sabra Classic Hummus 10 oz 3 059 Best Before/Meilleur Avant 2015 May 11
3 060 Best Before/Meilleur Avant 2015 May 15
US
040822014687 / 300074 Sabra Classic Hummus 30 oz 3 059 Best Before/Meilleur Avant 2015 May 11 US
040822342049 / 301216 Sabra Classic Hummus without Garnish 32oz 3 059 Best Before/Meilleur Avant 2015 May 11 US
040822017497 / 301290 Sabra Classic Hummus 17oz Six Pack 3 058 Best Before/Meilleur Avant 2015 May 11
3 059 Best Before/Meilleur Avant 2015 May 11
US
040822342209 / 301283 Hummus Dual Pack Classic/Garlic 23.5oz 3 058 Best Before/Meilleur Avant 2015 May 11 US

The potential for contamination was discovered when a routine, random sample collected at a retail location on March 30th, 2015 by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

Blue Bell Listeria Outbreak Expands to Kansas and Texas

According to the CDC, the outbreak now consists of two clusters of illnesses that are likely linked to Blue Bell brand ice cream products. The outbreak involves eight people infected with outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes; eight people are reported from Kansas (5) and Texas (3).

Cluster 1 consists of five patients reported from Kansas during January 2014 through January 2015 who were all hospitalized at a single hospital for unrelated problems before developing listeriosis. Of the four ill people for whom information is available on the foods eaten in the month before Listeria infection, all consumed milkshakes made at the hospital with a Blue Bell brand ice cream product called “Scoops.” Whole genome sequences of Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated from four of the patients were found to be highly related to sequences of Listeria strains isolated from “Scoops” and two other products made on the same line at the company’s Texas facility. These products were recalled by Blue Bell Creameries on March 13, 2015.

Cluster 2 consists of three patients reported from Texas during 2011 through 2014 who were all hospitalized for unrelated problems before developing listeriosis. Whole genome sequences of their Listeria monocytogenes strains were highly related to sequences of Listeria strains isolated from another Blue Bell ice cream product, 3 oz. institutional/food service chocolate ice cream cups made at the Oklahoma production facility. The cup products were recalled by Blue Bell Creameries on March 23, 2015.

Three additional patients with listeriosis during 2010 through 2012 whose isolates have PFGE patterns similar to those of others in the cluster have been identified in the PulseNet database; further molecular laboratory testing is under way to determine whether these illnesses may be related to this outbreak.