Gill Onions of Oxnard CA is expanding its recall due to fact product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. According to the FDA release, the expanded product list includes diced, slivered and whole peeled onions and diced onion/celery mix with use-by-dates on or before August 3. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm313399.htm
This recall expands upon the initial recall that was issued on July 18th. http://pennstatefoodsafety.blogspot.com/2012/07/fresh-cut-onions-and-celery-recalled.html
How can this happen.? While the initial recall was based upon a product from retail testing positive, the expanded recall occurred when in-plant testing found more positive Listeria tests. (http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-news/Gills-expands-onion-celery-recall-listeria-found-at-plant-163863626.html). Finding Listeria in the plant environment led officials to believe that the Listeria issue was not a single lot issue, but was wider spread within the facility and thus implicated product over multiple lots.
After the cantaloupe recall earlier this year, there has been increasing attention to RTE produce, primarily products like this that have been further processed in some way. Products like these onions which were sliced, can get contaminated during processing if that process and the environment has not been maintained to the level needed to control Listeria monocytogenes. In order to do this, processing facilities must have adequate controls including stout sanitation program but then must also verify that Listeria is not present through an environmental monitoring program.
As indicated in the Packer article, the facility may need to be redesigned. This is certainly an issue in older plants find that find they need to make changes in order to meet this increased standard of Listeria free.