December 7, 2023

Import Alert Issued For Korean Grown Enoki Mushrooms

The FDA has issued an import alert for Korean grown Enoki mushrooms because so many of them have been recalled for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination in the past few months. This alert is “designed to protect public health and help prevent the importation of enoki mushrooms that could be linked to human infections,” according to the FDA.

Import Alert Issued For Korean Grown Enoki Mushrooms

In fiscal year 2021, testing conducted by the FDA found that 43% of Enoki mushrooms sampled from that country were contaminated with Listeria. This pathogen grows well in moist environments, in decaying vegetation, and in soil and water. It grows and survives even under refrigeration and freezing does not kill it.

The sampling was conducted after an investigation into a multisite Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that took place from 2016 to 2020. This outbreak linked many cases of human listeriosis illnesses to enoki mushrooms from Korea. Thirty six people in the U.S., who lived in 17 states, were sickened, in addition to 12 cases in Canada and six cases in Australia.

The patient case count by state in the U.S. was: 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 23, 2016 to December 13, 2019. Thirty-one people in the United States were hospitalized, and there were four deaths. In addition there were two fetal losses among six pregnancy-related cases. The mushrooms were distributed by Guan’s Mushroom Co.

From March 2020 to May 2022, public health officials sampled Enoki mushrooms from U.S. retail stores. Listeria monocytogenes was found in multiple samples, which led to 21 recalls of Enoki mushrooms during that time frame. Nine of the recalls were linked to mushrooms grown in Korea. This was confirmed by labeling, traceback, or whole genome sequencing.

After the outbreak in 2020, the FDA started an Imported Specialty Mushroom Prevention Strategy with an emphasis on Enoki mushrooms. This plan is a deliberate approach to limit or prevent the occurrence of a root cause that led to an outbreak.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a Listeria monocytogenes infection after eating Enoki mushrooms, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores and food processors.

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