January 30, 2023

Confusion Over Enoki Mushroom Recall Due to So Much Listeria

The FDA's announcement this week that it had identified the source of an enoki mushroom Listeria outbreak was a breakthrough in an investigation that has seemed dormant for months. But it was also something of a headscratcher. On January 17, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that enoki mushrooms imported from China and distributed in the U.S. by Utopia Foods, Inc. of Glendale, NY were the source of the outbreak. The significant development in the investigation was a long time coming. It was the first outbreak update the agency has issued since late November 2022. But the weird thing was Utopia enoki mushrooms were recalled for Listeria last month. The recall, issued on December 13, 2022, stated that the problem was discovered during routine sampling conducted in … [Read more...]

2022 Meat and Poultry Recalls Far Below Average

In-depth analysis from Food Poisoning Bulletin Meat and poultry producers issued 46 recalls last year, a number far below the pre-pandemic four-year average of 126, according to a Food Poisoning Bulletin review of meat and poultry recalls published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS). Since 2010, the only year with fewer recalls was 2020 when there were plant closures due to COVID outbreaks. Not surprisingly then, the number of recalls for bacterial contamination by one of the three major pathogens – E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria was also the lowest since 2010 excluding the first year of the pandemic. The four-year average for these recalls before the pandemic was 26. In 2022, there were just nine recalls for meat and poultry … [Read more...]

What FDA Isn’t Saying About an Enoki Mushroom Listeria Recall

When a recent Listeria recall set off some alarm bells at Food Poisoning Bulletin a couple of weeks ago, we asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) how banned enoki mushrooms made their way to store shelves.  The answer, it seems, is that the agency is still trying to work that out. A Problematic Recall The FDA doesn't like to use the term "banned," they told us. But a ban is the net effect when the FDA issues a countrywide import alert for a food product. This action means that the agency has gathered enough evidence to show that the product is in violation of FDA laws and regulations and can be detained at the border without physical inspection. In the case of enoki mushrooms from Korea, the evidence includes a 2020 Listeria outbreak in the U.S. that killed four people … [Read more...]

Enoki Mushrooms are the Most Recalled Food of 2022

With one month to go before the end of the year, there have already been 11 Listeria recalls for enoki mushrooms, making them the food most recalled for bacterial contamination in 2022. It wasn't a close contest. Any commodity vying for the distant second-place finish  -cheese, leafy greens, ground beef, has had fewer than half as many recalls so far this year. And there's a decent chance that, before the year's end, there will be a 12th enoki mushroom recall. That's because no recall has been issued in connection with an ongoing enoki mushroom Listeria outbreak. Two years ago, a Listeria outbreak linked to enoki mushrooms from Korea sickened 36 people killing four of them. That outbreak was connected to three recalls and the origin of each one we've seen since. After the deadly … [Read more...]

Did Banned Enoki Mushrooms Make Their Way to Store Shelves?

On November 17, Green Day Produce of Vernon, CA issued a Listeria recall for enoki mushrooms imported from Korea. But why were they on store shelves in the first place? Due to widespread problems with Listeria contamination in enoki mushrooms from Korea, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a countrywide import alert for them four months ago. This action essentially bans the import of all enoki mushrooms from the Republic of Korea. Companies seeking an exemption can submit documentation that the product has been tested and is pathogen-free, but even this does not guarantee that the product will be admitted to the U.S., according to the FDA website's information about import alerts. Firms that meet the criteria for exemption from an import alert are added to a "green … [Read more...]

What Do Inspection Reports for Big Olaf Creamery Reveal?

Last week, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services  (FDACS) revealed that Listeria had been found in 10 environmental swabs and samples from 16 different flavors of ice cream at Big Olaf Creamery's production plant in Sarasota, FL. The samples were collected after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on July 2 that epidemiological evidence identified the ice cream as the source of a Listeria outbreak that has sickened 23 people over an 18-month period. One of the patients died and another suffered a miscarriage. Presented with that information, Big Olaf declined to issue a recall. Then a spokesperson for the company issued a statement that deemed the epidemiological information "speculative" and wondered why the company was being unfairly … [Read more...]

Dole Packaged Salad- The Seven-Year Listeria Outbreak with a Plot Twist

On the day Patient 1 in the current Listeria outbreak linked to Dole packaged salads first experienced symptoms of illness, the iPhone 5 was the latest generation of Apple smartphones, Fifty Shades of Grey topped the New York Times Fiction Bestseller list, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had just declared a state of emergency in Ferguson following the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, and President Barack Obama was 12 days away from showing up to a press conference in a tan suit. It was August 16, 2014. In the seven years since, 15 more patients have been identified using whole genome sequencing, a method that identifies the genetic "fingerprint" of bacteria cultured from sick people and contaminated food. Two of the patients, who lived in Michigan and Wisconsin, … [Read more...]

Listeria was Top Pathogen Source of Recalls and Related Deaths in 2021

In-depth analysis from Food Poisoning Bulletin  Listeria was the top pathogen source of food recalls and related deaths in 2021, according to an in-depth analysis by Food Poisoning Bulletin. After our second annual analysis of recalls for meat and poultry, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), we turned our attention to recalls for all other foods which are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Listeria findings are some of the key takeaways from our deep dive into 2021 food recalls. How We Did This We focussed on the recalls that FDA gathers from press releases and other public notices and publishes on its website. While these represent only a portion of all annual recalls for FDA-regulated foods, (we'll just call them "food … [Read more...]

Sandwiches Delivered to School Districts Nationwide Recalled for Listeria

Sandwiches delivered to school districts nationwide have been recalled for possible Listeria contamination. Let’s Do Lunch, Inc., dba Integrated Food Service (IFS) issued a recall for the sandwiches after the FDA investigators found Listeria in environmental samples collected "on several different occasions." The recalled sandwiches include turkey, ham and cheese subs; Italian subs, BBQ rib sandwiches, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chili dogs, sliders and more. At the time of the recall, no illnesses had been reported. However, symptoms of a Listeria infection can take up to 70 days to develop. They include high fever, muscle aches, neck stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Among pregnant women, Listeria infections can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and … [Read more...]

Whole Foods Pesto Pasta Salad Recalled for Listeria

Green Cuisine has issued a recall for “Pesto Pasta Salad with Arugula” because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The company issued the recall after being notified by its supplier, Green Cuisine is issuing this voluntary recall after being notified by their supplier, National Frozen Foods, that the frozen green peas used in the product are being recalled for Listeria. The recalled salads were sold at Whole Foods locations in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona on June 15 and June 16, 2016. Consumers who purchased the product should not eat it. The recalled product was sold in 7.4 oz clear plastic containers with the name “Whole Foods Pesto Pasta Salad w/Arugula,” UPC code 857898004333 and “best by” date of 6/20/16. At the time of the recall, … [Read more...]

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