July 14, 2020

Enoki Mushroom Listeria Outbreak Ends With 36 Sick, 4 Dead

The enoki mushroom Listeria outbreak has ended with 36 sick in 17 states and 4 dead, according to an update published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thirty-one people were hospitalized because they were so ill.

Enoki Mushroom Listeria Outbreak Ends With 36 Sick, 4 Dead

The case count by state is: Arizona (2), California (9), Florida (2), Hawaii (3), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Maryland (2), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), New York (4), North Carolina (1), Rhode Island (1), Tennessee (1), Virginia (3), and Washington (1). Illness onset dates ranged from November 3, 2016 to December 13, 2019. The patient age range is from less than 1 to 96 years. The four deaths were from California, Hawaii, and New Jersey. Six cases were pregnancy-related, with two ending in fetal loss.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence all showed that enoki mushrooms supplied by Green Co. LTD, which is located in the Republic of Korea, were the likely source of this outbreak. Ill persons answered questions about the foods they ate the month before they got sick. Fifty-five percent said they ate mushrooms, including enoki, portobello, white, button, wood ear, maitake, and oyster.

The FDA and state officials collected enoki mushrooms for testing. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development got enoki mushrooms from a grocery store where a patient shopped and found the outbreak strain in two samples. The mushrooms were labeled “Product of Korea” and were distributed by Sun Hong Foods, which recalled mushrooms on March 9, 2020.

The California Department of Public Health also collected enoki mushrooms from grocery stores and found the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes in one sample. Those mushrooms were labeled “Product of Korea” and were distributed by Guan’s Mushroom Company, which also recalled their product on March 23, 2020.

Lawyer Fred Pritzker

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning, you can contact attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

Finally, the FDA collected samples of enoki mushrooms for testing at import from Green Co. LTD of Korea. Two samples yielded the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes. The company was placed on import alert, and H&C Foods recalled enoki mushrooms from Green Co. LTD. The Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety found Listeria monocytogenes in enoki mushrooms produced by two Korean firms and announced steps it will take to prevent this in the future.

Symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by this pathogen, can include high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea. Pregnant women are very susceptible to this pathogen and can suffer miscarriage or stillbirth even though their illness just resembles the flu. If you have eaten enoki mushrooms and have been ill, see your doctor. You may be part of this enoki mushroom Listeria outbreak.

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