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)

FSA UK – Organic apricot kernels recalled due to incorrect instructions for use

Today I publish a peculiar food recall: not only because it regards a less usual aspect than pathogens or contaminants, but also because is justified on the ground of a safety advice given by a national competent authority, namely the Food Standard Agency in UK. The product has been also distributed in Ireland, Poland and Slovenia.
Nua Naturals is recalling batches of Organic Apricot Kernels as the recommended usage on the label incorrectly advises to consume ‘No more than 3 to 5 kernels daily.’ We advise consumption of bitter apricot kernels should not exceed 1-2 kernels per adult per day due to potential acute and long term toxic effects associated with cyanide, which is found as a natural toxin in bitter apricot kernels.

Due to the potential acute and long term toxic effects associated with cyanide, the FSA advises that the consumption of apricot kernels should not exceed 1-2 kernels per adult per day, as doses above this could cause an acute health risk.

The products being recalled are:

Product: Nua Naturals Organic Apricot Kernels

Pack size: 175g

‘Best before’ end: May 2017 with batch codes: 150929, 151117, 160119

Best before’ end: November 2016 with batch codes: 150629, 150129, 150410

No other Nua Naturals products are known to be affected.

Nua Naturals has recalled the above products and issued point-of-sale notices to stores selling the products, requesting customers who have bought this product to return it to the store of purchase. A copy of the point-of-sale recall notice can be found at the link below:

PDF file Customer notice: Nua Naturals Organic Apricot Kernels

Consumers are advised not to consume any of the above product, and return the affected products to the store of purchase.

(Source: FSA website)