Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria) is a foodborne disease-causing bacterium; the disease is called listeriosis. Listeria can invade the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract. Once in the body, Listeria can travel through the blood stream but Listeria bacteria are often found inside cells. Listeria also produces toxins that damage cells. Image (c) Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.

Frozen corn and possibly other frozen vegetables are the likely source of an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes that has been affecting Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom since 2015.

Experts used whole genome sequencing to identify the food source, which initially was thought to be limited to frozen corn. As of 8 June 2018, 47 cases including nine deaths had been reported.

The same strains of L. monocytogenes have been detected in frozen vegetables produced by the same Hungarian company in 2016, 2017 and 2018. This suggests that the strains have persisted in the processing plant despite the cleaning and disinfection procedures that were carried out.

The available information confirms the contamination at the Hungarian plant. However, further investigations, including thorough sampling and testing, are needed to identify the exact points of environmental contamination at the Hungarian plant. The same recommendation applies to other companies belonging to the same commercial group if environmental contamination is detected.

On 29 June 2018, the Hungarian Food Chain Safety Office banned the marketing of all frozen vegetable and frozen mixed vegetable products produced by the affected plant between August 2016 and June 2018, and ordered their immediate withdrawal and recall. This last measure is likely to significantly reduce the risk of human infections and contain the outbreak. All freezing activity at the plant has been stopped.

New cases could still emerge due to the long incubation period of listeriosis (up to 70 days); the long shelf-life of frozen corn products; and the consumption of frozen corn bought before the recalls and eaten without being cooked properly.

To reduce the risk of infection, consumers should thoroughly cook non ready-to-eat frozen vegetables, even though these products are commonly consumed without cooking (e.g. in salads and smoothies). This applies especially to consumers at highest risk of contracting listeriosis – such as the elderly, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems.

Results of Independent Tests carried out in respect of the presence of Listeria monocytogenes ST6 type (“LST6”) Shareholders are referred to the SENS announcement issued by the Company on 5 March 2018, relating to an order issued by the National Consumer Commission for the Company to conduct a recall of certain identified Enterprise products. In that announcement, it was stated that in a batch of one of its products tested by the Company on 14 February 2018, the presence of the ST6 strain could not be confirmed and that the relevant samples had been sent to an external laboratory for the identification of the strain. The test results were received on 15 March 2018, but these had proved inconclusive and, as a result, the samples were sent for further re-testing.

The purpose of this announcement is to update shareholders on the results of the independent laboratory re-testing which was carried out in respect of the presence of LST6 in the above samples which were manufactured at the Enterprise Polokwane processing facility. On 24 April 2018, Tiger Brands received confirmation of the presence of LST6 in these samples. As reported previously, we have been actively engaging with the Department of Health and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases on our findings and will continue to collaborate with them on the actions taken to date to actively address our findings.

The Enterprise facilities in Polokwane, Pretoria and Germiston still remain closed while remedial work continues. An arrangement has been concluded between Pork Packers (which is based in Clayville) and our pig suppliers to contract slaughter on their behalf with effect from 2 May 2018.

March 14 update:  978 Sick, 183 Deaths

According to the Minister of Public Health, Minister of Health Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi:

THE CONCLUSION FROM THIS IS THAT THE SOURCE OF THE PRESENT OUTBREAK CAN BE CONFIRMED TO BE THE ENTERPRISE FOOD-PRODUCTION FACILITY IN POLOKWANE

March 14, 2018 update of listeria Outbreak from the Centre for Enteric Diseases (CED) and Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, Outbreak Response Unit (ORU), National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)/National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS).

A total of 978 cases has been reported since 2017. Since the last situational update (8 March 2018), 11 additional cases have been reported to the NICD.

Cases of listeriosis will continue to occur up to four weeks or longer after the recall of the implicated foodstuffs, as the incubation period for listeriosis can be as long as 21 days with a reported maximum of 70 days.

Outcome at the end of hospitalization is known for an additional 5 cases, bringing the total with known outcome to 674/978 (69%) patients. No additional deaths have been reported since the last situation update (8 March). Presently, 183/674 (27%) patients are known to have died.

Health care workers are urged to continue with vigilance for new cases as persons who have consumed implicated processed meat products over the past few weeks may continue to present with listeriosis.

As of 12 March 2018, 978 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD from all provinces since 01 January 2017. To date, 748 cases were reported in 2017, and 230 cases in 2018. Females account for 56% (532/948) cases where gender is reported. Where age was reported (n=946), ages range from birth to 92 years (median 19 years) and 42% (398/950) are neonates aged ≤28 days. Of neonatal cases, 96% (381/398) had early-onset disease (birth to ≤6 days). Most cases have been reported from Gauteng Province (59%, 581/981) followed by Western Cape (12%, 118/967) and KwaZulu-Natal (7%, 70/967) provinces. Cases have been diagnosed in both public (65%, 639/981) and private (35%, 342/981) healthcare sectors. Amongst 978 cases, 720 (73%) specimens that were positive for Listeria monocytogenes on blood culture, while 211 (22%) were positive on cerebrospinal fluid. 71/981 (7%) specimens were positive from a variety of other sites (stool, pus, abscess or other fluid). Four public sector patients had positive PCR test for Listeria monocytogenes, but these patients also had a positive culture.

IT has been more than a year since the first listeriosis case was reported to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, however the source still remains unknown.

There have been 915 laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis and the outbreak has already claimed 172 lives.

Gauteng has the highest number of reported cases in South Africa with 59 per cent and KZN has reported seven per cent of the total cases.

Listeria is a bacterium that is naturally found in the environment. It commonly occurs in soil, water, vegetation and in the faeces of some animals.

It can contaminate a wide variety of food types, including meat and meat products, dairy products (unpasteurised and pasteurised), fresh and frozen produce (fruits, vegetables and sprouts) and ready-to-eat products. This fact, coupled with a variable incubation period that can range from six hours to 70 days, poses a major challenge in determining the source of the outbreak.

In cooperation with the Mann Packing recall of minimally processed vegetable products due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, Randalls, Tom Thumb and Albertsons stores in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas only are voluntarily recalling the Ready.Chef.Go! Cod Filet seafood meal bag, which includes vegetables that are subject to the Mann Packing recall. This product is in addition to seafood meal bag products that were recalled

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that 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.

This recall impacts only the Ready. Chef. Go! Cod Fillet seafood meal bag with the Sell Thru Dates listed below.

Product Name UPC Code Starting with the Following numbers: Sell Thru Dates
Ready. Chef. Go! Cod Fillet seafood meal bag 231201 Up to and including 10-22-17 (October 22, 2017)

The product is packaged in clear cooking bag and is sold from refrigerated cases in the meat/seafood department or from mobile refrigerated merchandise cases. The UPC code and Sell Thru Date can be found on the store scale label.

No illnesses or injuries have been reported in connection with the Mann Packing recall. The Ready. Chef. Go! Cod Fillet seafood meal bag has been recalled out of an abundance of caution.

A Wisconsin company that has been supplying meat products to McDonalds restaurants for over three decades is recalling approximately 1,134 pounds of pork sausage patties that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced this week.

The fully cooked pork sausage patties produced by Fair Oaks Farms, LLC, a Pleasant Prairie, on August 8, 2017, in 2-lb. plastic sleeve packages containing “BREAKFAST Best FULLY COOKED ORIGINAL PORK SAUSAGE PATTIES,” with a sell-by date of 05/15/2018 are subject to the recall.

The products bear establishment number “EST. 17479T” above the sell by date. These items were shipped to distribution and retail locations in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.

According to the USDA’s inspection service, the problem was discovered when firm’s routine testing indicated positive results for Listeria monocytogenes. The products were on hold at a distribution center, however, the products were inadvertently shipped. There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions 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.

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

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them.

SunOpta Inc’s subsidiary, Sunrise Growers Inc., has issued a voluntary recall of certain frozen organic dark sweet pitted cherry products due to 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.

This recall includes certain frozen organic dark sweet pitted cherry products distributed from Sunrise Grower’s facility in Edwardsville, Kansas on August 10, 2017. The issue was discovered during routine testing by Sunrise Growers.  No illnesses related to the consumption of these products have been reported.

Ninety cases of Great Value Organic Dark Sweet Pitted Cherry products are being recalled.  The products are packaged in 32 ounce printed plastic zip top bags and marked with a Best By Date of 08/10/19 on the back of the bag.  The UPC code is 078742126166 and the lot code is FED722211 or FED722212.

These recalled products were distributed to a customer distribution center in Louisiana and may have been redistributed to stores in Louisiana and Mississippi. The affected retail customer has been notified of this recall and instructed to remove any recalled product from retail store shelves and inventories.

Hudson Valley Foods, Inc. of Highland, NY has advised Amrita Health Foods of Pleasantville, NY that sunflower seeds and sunflower seed butter sold to the company for a short period of time have been recalled.

Amrita Health Foods is recalling a limited number of Amrita Bars 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, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. No confirmed illnesses have been reported to public health authorities to date.

The recalled Amrita Bars were distributed across the country via retail stores, ecommerce and direct sales.  Amrita Health Foods is recalling the following flavors of Protein bars produced from April 24th, 2017 – May 31st, 2017 with best buy dates of 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018. The Best Buy dates are on the back of the package near the UPC code.

  • Amrita Chocolate Maca Bar, 60g (UPC 853009004056) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Dark Chocolate Quinoa, 60g (UPC 853009004438) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Sunflower Seed Butter, 60g (UPC 853009004414) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Chocolate Chip Coconut, 50g (UPC 853009004391) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Mango Coconut, 50g (UPC 853009004018) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Apricot Strawberry, 50g (UPC 853009004056) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Pineapple Chia, 50g (UPC 853009004025) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Apple Cinnamon, 50g (UPC 853009004049) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018
  • Amrita Cranberry Raisin, 50g (UPC 853009004032): Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018

All affected distributors and retail website customers have been notified. The product was available nationwide in retail stores as well as by mail order/direct delivery.

This announcement applies only to the above list and specific Best Buy dates of Amrita Health Foods Protein bars outlined below and does not include any other items outside of the following Best Buy dates.

No other Amrita Health Foods products are included within this recall. This recall is being undertaken with the knowledge of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There has been no reported illness to date from this recall.

The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing by Hudson Valley Farms. Amrita Foods was notified directly by Hudson Valley Farms and the FDA of the potential contamination and risk for illness from this product. Amrita Health Foods immediately ceased production and distribution upon receiving this news for the consideration of our consumers.

Food Safety News reports that Federal officials are seeking a court order to stop a smoked fish operation from selling food because of repeated Listeria problems at its Westchester County, NY, facility.

Smokehouse of NY Oprah packagingKnown as The Smokehouse of New York, the business owned by Panagiota Soublis is in the municipality of Mamaroneck, NY. It uses Oprah Winfrey’s face on its much of its packaging because she included one of its products on her 2014 “My Favorite Things” list. The company has retail locations and sells its products nationwide on the internet.

In April this year the company recalled 10 smoked fish products after inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration found Listeria monocytogenes in its warehouse. The April 12 recall notice states the company shut down operations and was working with the FDA to resolve the situation.

The company, founded in 2011 and initially known as La Maree Smokehouse, recalled several smoked fish products in 2011 because FDA tests showed finished product was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. At that same March 2011 inspection, environmental swab tests of food-contact and non-food contact surfaces also tested positive for the potentially deadly pathogen.

In August 2011 the FDA issued a warning letter to the company, citing failure to correct Listeria-related problems discovered during inspections in February and March that year.

“Your corrective actions do not correct the cause of the deviation, e.g., discontinue use of supplier or carrier until evidence is obtained that transportation practices have changed,” according to the 2011 warning letter.

The FDA archives show the agency did not issue a closeout letter in relation to the violations observed in 2011. Reports related to FDA inspections in the following years, including the visit earlier this year that spurred the April recall, have not been made public by FDA.

ucm560739Hampton Farms is voluntarily recalling Ava’s brand Organic Cashews Roasted & Salted 8 oz. tubs distributed in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. We have been notified by our cashew supplier that the cashews used have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. No confirmed illnesses have been reported to public health authorities to date. Routine sampling of a different item from another company revealed positive Listeria monocytogenes results, and a subsequent investigation in their manufacturing environment revealed a contaminated piece of equipment that was also used to produce the ingredient we received. Although test results of our cashews were negative for Listeria, we are recalling this item out of an abundance of caution.

All affected distributors and retail stores have been notified and the affected products are being removed from store shelves. Fewer than 225 units of this product were offered for retail sale.

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.

This announcement applies only to the Ava’s brand Organic Cashews Roasted & Salted product listed below and does not include any other items or the same item outside of this lot code:

Ava’s Brand 8 oz. Organic Roasted Salted Cashews
UPC 8-10111-01035-1
Best By 4/28/18, Lot 11817-L2