Outbreak of Listeria linked to frozen fruits, vegetables

by Eric Schroeder
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CRF frozen vegetables and fruits recall, Listeria
The recall includes approximately 358 consumer products sold under 42 separate brands, including Costco’s Organic By Nature line, Earth’s Pride, Trader Joe’s, Great Value and Wild Oats.

PASCO, WASH. — CRF Frozen Foods, which packages and markets a variety of frozen vegetables and fruits, has recalled all of the frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed in its Pasco facility since May 1, 2014. All affected products have the best by dates or sell by dates between April 26, 2016, and April 26, 2018.

The recall includes approximately 358 consumer products sold under 42 separate brands, including Costco’s Organic By Nature line, Earth’s Pride, Trader Joe’s, Great Value and Wild Oats. Products include organic and non-organic broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, corn, edamame, green beans, Italian beans, kale, leeks, lima beans, onions, peas, pepper strips, potatoes, potato medley, root medley, spinach, sweet potatoes, various vegetable medleys, blends, and stir fry packages, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries.

“We are performing this voluntary recall in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) because these products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes,” CRF said.

The outbreak was identified in March, and the C.D.C. informed CRF Frozen Foods that the government has identified eight people from three states who became ill and were hospitalized due to Listeria. Some of these illnesses have been linked to consuming CRF-manufactured or processed products, according to the C.D.C. Two of the individuals later died, but Listeria was not the cause of death in either person, the C.D.C. said.

On April 23, CRF Frozen Foods recalled 11 frozen vegetable products, and on May 2, it expanded the initial recall to include all organic and traditional frozen vegetable and fruit products processed in its Pasco facility since May 1, 2014. Recalled items were sold in plastic bags under various brand names nationwide and in Canada. A full list of recalled products is available on the F.D.A. web site.

“We apologize for any concern or inconvenience this expanded recall has caused our customers and consumers who enjoy our products,” CRF said.

Dole salad kits
Dole is currently under Department of Justice investigation for a Listeria outbreak linked to packaged salad products.

 

Dole Food Company, Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif., meanwhile, is under Department of Justice investigation for a Listeria outbreak linked to packaged salad products from its processing plant in Springfield, Ohio. The outbreak made 33 people sick and killed 4 between May 2015 and February 2016.

On April 29, Dole issued a statement indicating it has corrected the problems at its Springfield plant, which reopened on April 21.

“We have been working in collaboration with the F.D.A. and other authorities to implement ongoing improved testing, sanitation and procedure enhancements, which have resulted in the recent reopening of our Springfield salad plant,” Dole said. “We understand that these recent news reports may raise questions among our consumers and customers. They should be assured, however, that we have worked in conjunction with the F.D.A. to address those observations and ensure that Dole products are safe.”

Dole said it has been contacted by the D.O.J. in connection with its own investigation and is cooperating with the agency to answer questions and address any concerns.

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