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Listeria Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Listeria News & Outbreaks

Spinach Dip with Listeria Recalled by Costco

La Terra Fina is issuing a voluntary recall of its Organic Spinach Dip due to a potential health risk from Listeria exposure. The recall of product available in Bay Area Costco stores is a precaution. This is the only product that has been impacted and there have been no reports of illness.

Product Name                                                     UPC Code                         Best-By Date

La Terra Fina Organic Thick & Creamy         640410513730                3/24/2015

Spinach Dip & Spread, 24-ounce tub                                                        4/01/2015, 4/14/2015, 4/20/15

The quality of its products and satisfaction of its customers is La Terra Fina’s top priority. The brand follows rigorous food safety and ingredient testing standards and is withdrawing this product out of an abundance of caution for consumer safety. La Terra Fina urges consumers who have purchased this item in the impacted region to discard any opened or unused product and contact their local Costco store for a refund.

A Chicago wholesale meat company is recalling nearly 170,000 pounds of meat products that may be contaminated with bacteria that can cause illness.

Death by Ice Cream in Kansas

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to investigate an outbreak of listeriosis cases in five adult Kansas residents linked to ice cream consumed from Blue Bell Creameries. Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.

Five people in Kansas have become ill as part of this outbreak and three deaths have been reported. Patients became ill with listeriosis after hospitalizations for unrelated causes at the same hospital. They became ill between January 2014 and January 2015 after a majority were known to have consumed Blue Bell Creameries ice cream at the hospital. The hospital was not aware of the listeriosis contamination. The outbreak was recently discovered after two patients were identified with the same strain of listeriosis. Further investigation identified three other patients with listeriosis who had been hospitalized for unrelated causes before the onset of listeriosis.

Today, the FDA warned consumers about the potential contamination in Blue Bell Creameries’ products. Kansas health officials are warning consumers who have purchased the following Blue Bell Creameries novelty items and have not consumed the items to discard them:

  • Chocolate Chip Country Cookie
  • Great Divide Bar
  • Sour Pop Green Apple Bar
  • Cotton Candy Bar
  • Scoops
  • Vanilla Stick Slices
  • Almond Bar
  • No Sugar Added Mooo Bar (regular Mooo Bars are not included)

Potentially contaminated items have been pulled from retail locations by Blue Bell Creameries and are no longer available for purchase. At this time, no other products from Blue Bell Creameries have been linked to this outbreak. The FDA issued a consumer advisory about certain Blue Bell ice cream products made in Texas. The March 13 notice was issued after several confirmed cases of Listeriosis in Kansas were linked to products made on a single production line at the Blue Bell Creameries plant in Brenham.

The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions. Symptoms begin from three to 70 days after consuming the bacteria. In 2014, five cases of listeriosis were reported in Kansas.

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

Listeria Prompts Beef Recall

Rio Tex Wholesale Meats, a Mercedes, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 58,180 pounds of ready-to-eat beef products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The beef products were produced on various dates between March 25, 2014 and February 19, 2015. The following products are subject to recall:

20-lb. boxes containing four 5-lb. packages of “Hausman Foods COOKED BEEF TACO FILLING.”
20-lb. boxes containing four 5-lb. packages of “Hausman Foods SEASONED COOKED BEEF BARBACOA.”
20-lb. boxes containing four 5-lb. packages of “Hausman Foods FULLY COOKED BARBACOA.”
20-lb. boxes containing four 5-lb. packages of “Hausman Foods BEEF CARNE GUISADA.”
15-lb. and 45-lb. boxes containing three 5-lb. or 15-lb. packages of “Rio-Tex-Meats BARBACOA.”

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 13545” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were shipped for hotels, restaurants and institutional use in Texas.

The problem was discovered when FSIS personnel reviewed historical sampling data in the context of recent intensified verification testing with multiple Listeria monocytogenes positives. The historical sampling showed a recurrence of Lm isolates with indistinguishable Pulsed-field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns over a period of time within the establishment. The presence of isolates with indistinguishable PFGE patterns in environmental samples (including food contact and non-food contact surfaces) and on ready-to-eat meat products indicates that there are insufficient sanitary measures to prevent contamination of the production environment and the products with Lm.

Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.

Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food.

FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers.

Listeria Linked to “ready-to-eat beefsteak patty product”

Kenosha Beef International, a Columbus, Ohio, establishment, is recalling approximately 21,427 pounds of ready-to-eat beefsteak patty product that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The fully cooked beefsteak patties were produced on Jan. 24, 2015. The following product is subject to recall:

35.3-lb. boxes of “Fully Cooked Black Angus Ground Beefsteak (chopped and formed)” with product number 87657 and “use thru” date of 01/24/16.
The product subject to recall bears the establishment number “EST. 10130” inside the USDA mark of inspection. This product was shipped to distributors in Illinois and North Carolina for further distribution to restaurants.

The problem was discovered by a customer of Kenosha Beef International. The customer, a further processor, tested a sample of product produced the same day as the recalled product, returning a positive result for Listeria monocytogenes. FSIS and the company have received no reports of illness due to consumption of these products.

Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.

Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food.

Listeria Recall Over Sprouts

Hanbit Enterprises, Inc. dba Jack and the Beanstalk is recalling Soybean Sprouts in 1lb, 1.5lb, 10 lb, and Natto plastic bags distributed up to and including February 12, 2015 with Best if Used by dates up to February 19, 2015, 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 long-­‐term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeriainfection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The soybean sprouts were distributed to Bay Area stores and restaurants.

1LB SOYBEAN SPROUT BAR CODE – 7-27580-12366-9
1.5LB SOYBEAN SPROUT BAR CODE – 7-27580-12365-2
10LB SOYBEAN SPROUT BAR CODE – 7-27580-12351-5
NATTO SOYBEAN SPROUT BAR CODE – 7-27580-12367-6

No illnesses that have been reported to date.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by the FDA which revealed that the finished products contained the Listeria bacteria. The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continues their investigation as to what caused the problem.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak Update

CDC collaborated with public health officials in several states and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis). Joint investigation efforts indicated that commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples made from Bidart Bros. apples were the likely source of this outbreak.

Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that were part of this outbreak. PulseNet is the national subtyping network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by CDC. DNA “fingerprinting” is performed on Listeria bacteria isolated from ill people using techniques called pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS).

The 35 ill people included in this outbreak investigation were reported from 12 states: Arizona (5), California (3), Colorado (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), Nevada (1), New Mexico (6), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3). Illness onset dates ranged from October 17, 2014, to January 6, 2015. Eleven illnesses were associated with a pregnancy (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant). One fetal loss was reported. Among people whose illnesses were not associated with a pregnancy, ages ranged from 7 to 92 years, with a median age of 62 years, and 33% were female. Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) occurred among otherwise healthy children aged 5–15 years. Thirty-four people were hospitalized, and listeriosis contributed to at least three of the seven deaths reported.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) identified two cases of listeriosis in Canada with the same PFGE patterns as those seen in the U.S. outbreak. More detailed testing using WGS showed that the isolate from only one of the two cases was genetically related to the U.S. outbreak. That person reported eating a caramel apple.

On January 6, 2015, Bidart Bros. of Bakersfield, California, voluntarily recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples because environmental testing revealed contamination with Listeria monocytogenes at the firm’s apple-packing facility. The recall included all Granny Smith and Gala apples shipped from its Shafter, California, packing facility in 2014. On January 8, 2015, FDA laboratory analyses using PFGE showed that environmental Listeria isolates from the Bidart Bros. facility were indistinguishable from the outbreak strains. On January 18, 2015, WGS found that these isolates were highly related to the outbreak strains. In addition, WGS showed that Listeria isolates from whole apples produced by Bidart Bros., collected along the distribution chain, also were highly related to the outbreak strains.

Three firms that produce caramel apples issued voluntary recalls after receiving notice from Bidart Bros. that there may be a connection between Bidart Bros. apples and this listeriosis outbreak. On December 24, 2014, Happy Apple Company of Washington, Missouri, voluntarily recalled Happy Apples brand caramel apples with a best use by date between August 25 and November 23, 2014. On December 31, 2014, Happy Apple Company expanded the recall to include Kroger brand caramel apples produced by Happy Apple Company with a best use by date between September 15 and November 18, 2014. On December 27, 2014, California Snack Foods voluntarily recalled Karm’l Dapple brand caramel apples with a best use by date between August 15 and November 28, 2014. On December 29, 2014, Merb’s Candies of St. Louis, Missouri issued a voluntary recall of Merb’s Candies Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples that would have been available from September 8 through November 25, 2014.

Soybean Sprouts Recalled Over Listeria Fears

Korean Food Co. of Irving Texas is recalling 8 boxes of (20 bag in each box) Go-Hang Soybean sprouts in 1 lb. and 2 lb. bags distributed Jan 30, 2015 – Feb 6, 2015 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 headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeriainfection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The soybean sprouts were distributed to KO-MART in Dallas and H-MART in Plano and Carrollton retail stores in Texas.

1LB SOYBEAN SPROUT BAR CODE- 4205312100
2LB SOYBEAN SPROUT BAR CODE- 42053-13650

No illnesses that have been reported to date.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by the FDA which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria. The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continues their investigation as to what caused the problem.

Queseria Bendita Cheese and Sour Cream Recalled After Listeria Illnesses and a Death

Queseria Bendita LLC of Yakima, Washington is recalling all lots of Panela, Queso Fresco, Requeson, Cotija fresh soft cheese products and Sour Cream to include ALL Best By Dates 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.

Panela, Queso Fresco, Requeson, Cotija fresh soft cheese products and Sour Cream were distributed to Hispanic grocery stores in Washington and Oregon and the firm also sold products from its on-site store in Yakima, Washington.

The recalled products are packaged with clear plastic wrapper or plastic tub, and the best by dates are stamp coded next to a label. The products are refrigerated and have the shelf life of up to 90 days. The last date of distribution of recalled products is January 15, 2015.

Up to date, there are a total of three (3) cases of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to consumption of soft cheese produced by Queseria Bendita, including two hospitalizations and one death.

The recall was the result of the investigation and samples collection by the Food and Drug Administration. The company has currently agreed to cease the production and distribution of all products.

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.