ListeriaCustom Corned Beef, Inc., a Denver, Colo., establishment, is recalling approximately 460 pounds of fully cooked crumbled pork sausage products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The following products are subject to recall:

* 10-pound boxes with two, 5-pound packages of “POLIDORI, FULLY COOKED PORK SAUSAGE CRUMBLES, KEEP REFRIGERATED/FROZEN.” Each box label bears the establishment number “EST. 4121” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The fully cooked crumbled pork sausage products were produced on Apr. 9, 2010, and were distributed to institutional establishments in Colorado.

New York State officials are out with a warning not to drink "raw milk" from the Breese Hollow Dairy in Hoosick Falls.

The diary is allowed to sell raw or "unpasteurized" milk on the farm and is subject to regular inspections by the NY Department of Agriculture.

Recent testing, however, turned up possible Listeria contamination in Breese Hollow "raw milk."  The sample that was positive for Listeria was collected sometime last month.   The dairy will not be allowed to make further sales of "raw milk" until its cleared by future testing.

"Raw Milk" cannot be sold for human consumption in 21 states.  CNN recently reported that:

"… it is illegal to sell raw milk in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming."

There are , however, loopholes in some states with prohibitions, such as allowing the sale of so-called "cow shares" that enable the co-owners to all purchase raw milk and many states, like New York, Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin, that permit on the farm sales of small quantities.

We fully understand why dairy farmers are tempted to get into "raw milk" sales.   Milk prices, especially at the farm, have collapsed during the past nine months.   Recent payments to dairy farmers are down 35 percent at about $1.04 per gallon.

“In Pennsylvania and New York, they’re getting anywhere from $8 to $12 a gallon,” says lawmaker Nelson Albano. “So if a local dairy farmer here in New Jersey was selling raw milk, he’d be able to get at least that much, so they definitely would be making more money, and that would be a great benefit.”

New Jersey lawmakers are currently considering dropping the Garden State ban on raw milk sales.

U.S. milk production is measured in "million of pounds" based on reports from 23 dairy states to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).   Each gallon of milk weighs 8.59 pounds.  First quarter production was off a mere 0.5 percent at 47,351 million pounds in 2009, down from 47,610 a year earlier.

The fact that the huge price collapse has not had much impact on production levels has both dairy farmers and USDA thinking about more drastic actions.   Some dairy farmers are dumping milk on the ground and USDA is offering payments for reducing herds.

What we cannot find are any estimates on how much milk sold "raw" versus pasteurized.  We suspect that even with the prospect of making $12 per gallon,  "raw milk" remains a very small percentage of the total market.  ( But the amount of those "raw milk" sales is something that somebody should be tracking.)

A buck a gallon is not enough for the nation’s dairy farmers who supply safe, pasteurized milk for Americans and many others from around the world.

 

There is a bit of a mystery down-under. South Australia (SA) Health cannot find any listeria in other products at either Kyana Farms at Wingfield nor Conroy’s Smallgoods at Bowden.

Bulk meat that ended up in 100 gram pre-packaged IGA Deli roast beef slices and sold at South Australia supermarkets originated at Conways and was sold to Kyana, which supplied the markets.
Nevertheless, the Deli roast beef slices sold by the supermarkets, with a use-by date of June 24, 2009, were found to be contaminated with listeria and recalled on May 28th.

SA Health public health director Kevin Buckett told the newsite Adelaidenow that the two companies had co-operated fully during the investigation.  “We have found no evidence that the product is linked to any illnesses,” he said.  “However, anyone who has this product is advised not to consume it and to throw it out or to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.”

Kyana Farms will continue to suspend production until the company has completed a plan, which includes a review of the incident to identify the likely source of contamination.  Conroy’s complies with the nationally agreed listeria control program, according to an SA Health assessment.

Listeria infection can be deadly, especially  for the sick, elderly, newborns and pregnant women. More can be found on SA Health’s website here.

For the second year in a row, Chang Farms of Whatley, MA is recalling bean and soy sprouts because of the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes (L. Monocytogenes) contamination.

Testing at a retail store in New York was positive for Listeria.

The affected product is packaged in 10 lb bags (bulk) and 12 oz plastic bags (retail), labeled under the Chang Farm Brand as Soy Sprouts and have a “Sell By” date of May 23, 2009 or May 24, 2009 and Bean Sprouts with “Use By” date of May 23, 2009 or May 24, 2009.

The product has been distributed to retail stores and restaurants throughout MA, CT, NY and NJ.

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.

In April, 2008, The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is issued a warning to the public not to consume any soy sprouts produced from Chang Farms in Whatley, Mass. because Listeria was discovered in the product.  We covered that recall here.  The FDA’s website carries the Chang Farms recall press release here.

The special hearings on the state of food safety in Canada –called after people consumed meat contaminated with listeria last summer from a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto, resulting in the death of 22 Canadians—continue up north.

Latest to weigh in with their opinions are Canada’s meat inspectors.  

According to the Vancouver Sun, front-line meat inspectors and supervisors on Monday told parliamentarians they were "grossly" understaffed prior to the outbreak and more resources are still needed to ensure food is safe to eat.

It was the first public comment by the meat inspectors since last summers deadly listeriosis outbreak.

"We want to ensure process meat inspectors are responsible for no more than two RTE (ready-to-eat) facilities," said Agriculture Union president Bob Kingston at a parliamentary subcommittee.

Kingston said meat inspectors in Canada are overworked making it impossible for them to carry out their duties.

Mandatory quarterly and annual audits were not completed at the Maple Leaf Foods plant, which he said lead to CFIA "missing the signs of trouble in May and June, just before the outbreak." 

There is more on what the MPs are being told in the Vancouver Sun here, and Toronto Star here.

“Got Milk?” Better check to see if it is produced by Whittier Farms and is distributed to customers in the greater Worcester/Shrewsbury area. Brand names produced at Whittier Dairy include Whittier, Schultz, Balance Rock, Spring Brook and Maple. Consumers were warned by the Health Department not to drink any milk products from Whittier Farms in Shrewsbury after two people died from listeria bacteria contamination, the Department of Public Health announced. Four cases of listeriosis infection have been identified by DPH. The cases involved three elderly residents and a pregnant woman from Worcester County.

According to the Whittier Farms website, the farm:

…has taken a unique approach to farming as we milk the cow, haul the raw milk to our processing plant in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts and then sell the processed milk at our milk store and at our processing plant. The whole process from cow to cup is two days, which means farm fresh milk to our satisfied and loyal customers.   We have revived the old method of bottling milk in glass bottles. The glass bottles keep the milk colder, which means the milk stays fresher, giving the milk a sweet and smooth taste. Our milk is also bottled in plastic and cardboard for those who prefer this convenience.

An udder catastrophe.

With all the E. coli outbreaks, Listeria has taken the back seat during 2007. The year’s recall list –a long one– maintained by the Food Safety & Inspection Service started with 290 pounds of listeria contaminated hog head cheese. That was on Jan. 3, 2007. The responsible party was Pap’s Louisiana Cuisine.

Two days later, Denver’s Gold Star Sausage Company recalled 15,514 pounds of sausage franks due to listeria. There would be seven more listeria recalls by year’s end, the largest being a 2.8 million pound recall of chicken breast strips by West Columbia, SC-based Carolina Culinard Foods.

Other listeria contaminated products included ready-to-eat turkey, semi boneless ham steaks, frozen sausage rolls, and a chicken and pastry product. All totaled, listeria-laced recalled products came to just a tad under 3 million pounds.

The only listeria recall remaining "active" at year end was Meridian, TX-based Double B Foods Inc., which sought return of 98,000 pounds of its frozen sausage rolls on Nov. 15.

So, it was not a big year for listeria recalls, but neither was it an insignificant one. Especially if you were a pregnant North Carolina woman hopeing for a baby instead of a still-born.

A California company is recalling its pasta salad with chicken because it may be contaminated.

Trader Joe’s brand Spicy Thai Style Pasta Salad with chicken breast is the name brand for Garden Leaf Food’s product.

Each label bears the establishment number P-21252 inside the USDA mark of inspection and has a "sell-by" date of Jan. 25.

Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea, as well as miscarriage and stillbirth. It can be fatal in those with weakened immune systems.

Keep reading here

Recall Release CLASS I RECALL
FSIS-RC-006-2007 HEALTH RISK: HIGH

Congressional and Public Affairs
(202) 720-9113
Amanda Eamich

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2007 – Garden Leaf Foods, a Gardena, Calif., firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 1,591 pounds of pasta salad with chicken that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.

The following product is subject to recall: [View Label]

* 12-ounce plastic containers of "TRADER JOE’S, Serves 2, Spicy THAI STYLE PASTA SALAD, with chicken breast." Each label bears the establishment number "P-21252" inside the USDA mark of inspection. Each package bears a "Sell-by" date of "1-25-07."

Keep reading here.

MARION – The Ohio State University is seeking Marion County families to help with a food safety study that researchers hope will lead to revisions of the nation’s food safety guidelines.

Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center is studying the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, which causes the food-borne illness listeriosis. It is most commonly associated with pre-packaged, ready-to-eat foods such as deli meats, salad and hot dogs.

While illnesses are rare, researchers said it is fatal for about a quarter of the people who become ill. Pregnant women, infants, senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable.
"Those who are healthy can usually fight it off," said Marion General Hospital infection control coordinator Kathy Ridge.

Lead researcher Lydia Medeiros, associate professor of human nutrition in the College of Education and Human Ecology, said that the university started

the study about a year ago but needs more families to get the kind of data it needs. Researchers are looking for both non-farm families who live in rural areas and families who live on farms with dairy or beef cattle, sheep or goats.

Keep reading here