FDA Investigates Listeria Outbreak Linked to Frozen Vegetables

The FDA, CDC and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of listeriosis identified in March 2016.

The CDC reports that eight people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from three states (California, Maryland and Washington) from September 2013 – March 2016. Ill people ranged in age from 56 to 86, with a median age of 76. Epidemiology and laboratory evidence available at this time indicates that frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington, and sold under various brand names are one likely source of illnesses in this outbreak. As discussed further below, CRF Frozen Foods has initiated a recall of certain products.

As part of a routine product sampling program the Ohio Department of Agriculture collected packages of frozen vegetable products from a retail location and isolated Listeria monocytogenes from True Goodness by Meijer brand frozen organic white sweet cut corn and frozen organic petite green peas. Both products were produced by CRF Frozen Foods.

Whole genome sequencing showed that the Listeria monocytogenes isolate from the frozen corn was closely related genetically to seven bacterial isolates from ill people, and the Listeria monocytogenes isolate from the frozen peas was closely related genetically to one isolate from an ill person. This close genetic relationship provides additional evidence that the people in this outbreak became ill from eating frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods.

Based on the positive findings by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, on April 22, 2016, CRF recalled 11 frozen vegetable products because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. On May 2, 2016, following a conversation between FDA, CDC and the firm, CRF Frozen Foods expanded its recall to include all of its frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed in CRF Frozen Foods’ Pasco facility since May 1, 2014. Approximately 358 consumer products sold under 42 separate brands were recalled.

Additionally, March 2016 environmental samples collected by FDA from Oregon Potato Company, located in Pasco, WA, were found to be closely related genetically to seven of the isolates of ill people associated with this outbreak. Based on this information, Oregon Potato Company voluntarily recalled wholesale onion products, which led to subsequent downstream customer recalls, one disclaimer icon of which publicly disclosed Oregon Potato Company as its product source. FDA is working to identify other parts of the relevant supply chain that may have product relating to this outbreak.

(Source: FDA website)

Food recalls in EU – Week 48/2015

This week on the EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find the following notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

2. Information for attention/for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

4. Seizures:

None.

5. Border rejections:

  • acetamiprid (0.081 mg/kg – ppm) in pomegranates from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 125; Tot. = 147 / B1 = 47; Tot. = 53 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios in shell from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 15.6; Tot. = 17.4 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from the United States
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 17.4; Tot. = 18.4 µg/kg – ppb) in chilli powder from Bangladesh
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 27.8; Tot. = 29.39 µg/kg – ppb) in organic hazelnuts, dried figs, (B1 = 32; Tot. = 36 / B1 = 99.1; Tot. = 162.3 / B1 = 16.3; Tot. = 17.29 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled hazelnuts (B1 = 64.95; Tot. = 75.06 µg/kg – ppb) and in crushed roasted hazelnuts (B1 = 7.4; Tot. = 22 / B1 = 9.6; Tot. = 22 µg/kg – ppb) from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 7.8; Tot. = 8.8 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from Argentina
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 9.0 µg/kg – ppb) in crushed chillies from India
  • copper (115 mg/kg – ppm) in vine leaves in brine from Turkey
  • FEED: aflatoxins (B1 = 60.3 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts for bird feeding from Brazil
  • fenpropathrin (0.017 mg/kg – ppm) and imidacloprid (0.021 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance tolfenpyrad (0.11 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from Turkey
  • fraudulent health certificate(s) for frozen barramundi fillets (Lates spp) from China
  • improper health certificate(s) for shrimps (Penaeus duorarum) from Côte d’Ivoire with improper packaging (too porous)
  • ivermectin (4.0 µg/kg – ppb) unauthorised in frozen barramundi (Lates spp) from Vietnam
  • mercury (0.78 mg/kg – ppm) in chilled John Dory (Zeus faber) from Tunisia
  • poor temperature control of frozen Argentine red shrimp (Pleoticus muelleri) from Argentina, frozen crabs (Cardisoma spp) and frozen raw lobsters (Panulirus argus) from Honduras, frozen fillets of mackerel (Scomber spp) and dolphinfish (Coryphaena) from China
  • propargite (0.204 mg/kg – ppm) in dried tomatoes from Tunisia
  • Salmonella (1 out of 5 samples /25g) in betel leaves from India
  • Salmonella (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India
  • shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (in 1 out of 5 samples /25g) in chilled beef from Brazil
  • stones (1.2 %) in white pepper husk from Vietnam
  • too high content of colour E 102 – tartrazine (0.65 %) and unauthorised use of colour E 110 – Sunset Yellow FCF (47.5 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen sweet corn pastry from Colombia
  • too high content of sulphite (2143 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • unauthorised substance aldrin in chilled peppers from Turkey
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (1.5 mg/kg – ppm) in peas from Kenya
  • unauthorised substance profenofos (0.04 mg/kg – ppm) in black olives in brine from Peru