A Listeria outbreak linked to frozen vegetables that ended this week triggered the recall of 456 products sold under dozens of brand names, according to a report by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Although the outbreak has ended, health officials are concerned that consumers may still have some of the vegetables in their freezers and caution everyone who purchases frozen vegetables to check recall information carefully.
The outbreak sickened nine people in California, Connecticut, Maryland, and Washington between September 2013 and May 2016. Fatalities were reported in Connecticut, Maryland and Washington, although listeriosis was not considered to be a cause of death for the Maryland and Washington cases.
Symptoms of a Listeria infection include can take up to 70 days after exposure to develop. They include stiff neck, headache, muscle soreness and flu-like symptoms that are sometimes preceded by nausea, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
Those most at risk are young children, seniors, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems. Among pregnant women, Listeria can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and infection in newborns. In this outbreak, the case patients ranged in age from 56 to 91, with a median age of 76.
Epidemiology and laboratory revealed that frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington, and sold under various brand names were the likely source of illnesses in this outbreak. The Ohio Department of Agriculture found the outbreak strain in True Goodness by Meijer brand frozen organic white sweet cut corn and frozen organic petite green peas, both of which were produced by CRF Frozen Foods.
CRF issued a recall and a recall expansion that included 358 products sold under 42 brand names. An additional 98 products were recalled.