Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Salmonella Oubreak Associated with Cucumbers....671 Affected and 3 Deaths

Update on Cucumber Salmonella Outbreak.....CDC now reports that
  • Since the last update on September 22, 2015, 113 more ill people have been reported from 19 states. Given the 14-day shelf life of cucumbers, it is not unexpected to continue to see illnesses reported after the recalls.
  • Alabama was added to the list of states with ill people, bringing the total number of states to 34.
This takes the total number of infected to 671 individuals, with 3 deaths.  Interesting, more than half of those infected, about 340, were children (<18 years old)
  Graph showing People infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona, by date of illness onset - as of September 28, 2015
Crate of cucumbers
CDC Outbreak Notice
Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Poona Infections Linked to Imported Cucumbers
CDC, multiple states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Poona infections. This investigation is ongoing. CDC will provide updates when more information is available.
  • 671 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona have been reported from 34 states, an increase of 113 cases since the last update on September 22.
  • 131 ill people have been hospitalized, and three deaths have been reported from Arizona (1), California (1), and Texas (1).
  • 51% of ill people are children younger than 18 years.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Cost of Foodborne Outbreaks - And Blue Bell as an Example of Mishandling an Outbreak

Foodborne outbreaks can have a devastating effect on those who become ill, but also will huge financial impact on those companies in terms of lawsuits, recall, and loss in sales.  Mishandling an outbreak can magnify those costs.

Fortune Magazine published two articles on the topic (links and excerpts below).  One looked at how Blue Bell was slow to act after their product was linked to Listeria...both knowing they had an issue and not solving it, and then with the recall in terms of performing 'recall creep' - where a series of recalls are issued where each subsequent recall entails increasing scope of products.  Recall creep has occurred often because companies fail to understand the extent of the risk.  The downside is that it drags out the recall and gives a worse perception of the company.  Comes back to the old saying - 'the first loss is your best loss'.

The other Fortune article looks the total cost of a foodborne outbreaks, which they estimated at $55.5 billion.  Recalls can cost companies from $30 million to $99 million, and in 5% of the cases, greater than $100 million.

Fortune Magazine
How ice cream maker Blue Bell blew it - Excerpts

by Peter Elkind @peterelkind September 25, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

Patrons of SC Fast Food Establishment Exposed to Hepatitis After 2 Employees Test Positive

Thousands of people were potentially exposed to Hepatitis A after eating at one of two Hardees fast food restaurants in South Carolina.  Notification of the potential exposure was broadcast after two employees had tested positive for the virus.

According to reports, some 5000 people had already been vaccinated. There is a window from the time of exposure to about 2 weeks out when a vaccination can prevent the disease. As we know,  Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months.

A lawsuit has already been filed for those 'who may have been infected".

Food operations, especially those who work with ready-to-eat foods, should institute a Food Workers Health Hygiene Program.  Information is available from FDA as well as many state government websites.
Possible Hepatitis A Exposure at 2 Spartanburg Co. Hardee’s
DHEC Published: September 18, 2015, 5:27 pm Updated: September 20, 2015, 8:45 pm 

For customers and staff who ate at either of these restaurants between Sep. 6 and 15, there is still time to get post-exposure treatment (the vaccine).

This first date will change daily (for e.g., for Monday, it will be Sep. 7 and 15) to reflect the 2 week post-exposure treatment window.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Vermont Burger Joint Linked to E. coli Outbreak

A Vermont burger joint has been linked to  7 cases of E. coli. 

Of course it is one of these gourmet burger joints...where they perhaps like to undercook the burgers?..  To see if this is the case, I went to the reviews.

Trip Advisor  (these were within the first 20 reviews I checked)
"We went to Worthy Burgers after hearing much hype about what great burgers they served, I am always looking to a great burger. There were 4 people in our party and we all agreed that although the burgers were good, they fell short of what we would consider a great burger. One of our main complaints was the all the burgers were prepared rare. They do clearly state the burgers will be service pink in the middle, but all 4 burgers were red in the middle. My wife asked if her burger burger could be cooked more and they willing prepared another burger but that was also arrived rare. They should realize not everyone likes their burgers rare and asked how you would like it cooked.

"My rare burger was a large, almost meatball like sphere of meat centered in a dry, almost stale bun with three wilted rings of bermuda onion. Its degree of doneness was so far from rare the best color description I could say it was, was grey with no pink discernible.
Not to be outdone, L's medium rare burger was a lighter shade of pale grey than mine"

And a professional review in Seven Days:
"The burger was slightly underseasoned, a paler cousin to the world-class patties at Worthy’s closest Burlington cognate, the Farmhouse Tap & Grill. A thin strip of pink made it look juicier than it actually was. "

Yep, you need to cook that select grass fed burger to the right temperature, just like any hamburger.  And for those that like that rare hamburger, or refuse to use a thermometer - is it worth the risk?

Valley News
 Vt. Officials Continue E. Coli Investigation

By Jordan Cuddemi  Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, September 25, 2015   (Published in print: Friday, September 25, 2015)
South Royalton — A South Royalton restaurant voluntarily closed for several days recently and switched food vendors after being contacted by state officials who are investigating an E. coli “cluster” that has sickened at least five people.

Cucumber Salmonella Outbreak - Cases Now at 558 with 3 Deaths

CDC's last repost on the Salmonella outbreak associated with cucumbers had the case count at 558, with 112 requiring hospitalization and 3 deaths.  This number of cases per day has begun to decrease since the two associated recalls were issued on September 4th and September 11th, however looking at the EPI curve, this duration of this outbreak is close to 3 months.
Graph showing People infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona, by date of illness onset - as of Septmeber 22, 2015
The cucumbers were said to be imported from Mexico and were then packed by US produce companies for shipment across the county...resulting in illnesses in 33 states.

In 2014, there was a Salmonella outbreak associated with cucumbers from Maryland and in 2013, an outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 associated with slice cucumber on sandwiches.

The pH of cucumbers is approximately 6.  While there are limited studies on the growth of Salmonella on cut cucumbers, evidence suggests that there may be a slow increase in numbers when the product is stored at non-refrigerated temperatures.  This may compound the primary issue, which is that cucumbers are grown on or near the ground, and if that ground is contaminated, such as occurs when using improperly treated manure as a fertilizer, then that contamination is transferred to the cucumbers (via direct contact, hands, splashing water, little critters, etc) could adhere to the surface of the cucumber.  Using contaminated irrigation water can lead to contamination of the cucumbers.  Finally, cucumbers can become contaminated during handling and rinsing / hydrocooling.  Point source contamination issues in the packing house can spread that contamination to  a large number of cucumbers.  More study is needed on cucumbers and contamination issues associated with growing, harvesting, storage and consumer handling.

Poultry Products Recalled Due to Metal Shavings Generated by Ice Machine

A Mississippi establishment is recalling approximately 550,000 lbs of poultry products after metal shavings were found by one of their customers.  The manufacturing established reported that a faulty ice machine was to blame.  The product being large cases and combos, so this indicates the product was packed on ice.

The ice machine....that neglected piece of equipment.  Whether packing product on ice, adding ice as an ingredient to facilitate cooling, or adding to our beverage, ice is just as much as part of the process as the other ingredients used.  Ice machines have often been cited for high microbiological counts when the machines are not cleaned.  Here, a malfunctioning machine had metal-on-metal contact, probably in the ice chopper/flaker that generated the metal shavings.

In these cases, ice machines are part of the process and need to identified as a source for microbiological, physical, and probably even chemical hazards.  Good preventive maintenance and periodic quality checks should be included with regard to controlling metal as a physical hazard,

USDA Recall Notice
Sanderson Farms Recalls Poultry Products Due To Possible Foreign Matter Contamination
Class I Recall 124-2015
Health Risk: High Sep 24, 2015
En EspaƱol

Congressional and Public Affairs  Katherine Scheidt   (202) 720-9113

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2015 – Sanderson Farms, a Hazlehurst, Miss. establishment, is recalling approximately 551,090 pounds of poultry products that may be contaminated with extraneous metal materials the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

PCA CEO Gets 28 Years in Prison for Selling Tainted Peanut Butter, QA Manager gets 5 Years

The CEO of PCA, Steward Parnell, received a 28 year prison sentence after being found guilty last September for  knowingly selling tainted peanut butter and falsifying records to deceive customers about the safety of that product.   His brother, Michael Parnell, the production supervisor, received a sentence of 20 years in prison, while the quality control manager, Mary Wilkerson, received a 5-year sentence for obstruction of justice.

While it is easy to focus on Mr. Parnell's sentence, you have to look at Mary Wilkerson, the 41 year old Quality Control Manager.  She started working at PCA as a receptionist and was promoted up to the role of Quality Control Manager.  Did she know better?  Did she have appropriate training?  Was she merely following orders?  Perhaps, but in the end, she was brought down with the owner for carrying out an act that caused people to get sick.  While she may not spend the entire 5 years in prison, it is still an awful cross to bear for an owner who reaped the benefits of running a shady business.

Her story goes to all the quality control, operations, and other supervisory personnel as a reminder that doing the wrong thing because someone told you to do it does not make it okay.

Washington Post

Former peanut executive sentenced to 28 years in prison
By Brady Dennis September 21 at 7:53 PM

Former peanut executive Stewart Parnell was sentenced Monday to 28 years in prison for his role in a nationwide salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds in 2008 and 2009.

The sentence marked the most severe punishment ever for a food-related crime. Prosecutors had sought life in prison for the 61-year-old executive, and the sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands essentially could amount to that.

“These acts were driven simply by the desire to profit and to protect profits notwithstanding the known risks,” the judge said, according to the Associated Press. “This is commonly and accurately referred to as greed.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

Soft Cheese Listeria Outbreak Extends Back 5 Years - The Power of Whole Genome Sequencing

This past week, a California cheese company recalled cheese due to Listeria related illnesses.  CDC released information that there have been 24 cases in 9 different states caused by 5 closely related strains of Listeria.  The cases occurred over a five year period!  
The ability to combine this data into one outbreak is incredible!  Whole Genome Sequencing has become a game changer with regard to solving foodborne illness outbreaks.  The entire DNA sequence from pathogens responsible for past foodborne illness cases can be evaluated and matched with those from more recent cases. 
This technology also raises the ante for facilities with low level pathogen contamination issues.  Just as was seen with the Blue Bell ice cream facilities, it is more than a matter of checking the environment for Listeria, but enacting a proactive strategy that when contamination is found.  This includes an examination to determine if product has been exposed as well as a carrying out a seek-and-destroy mission to determine all potential sources/ contributing factors within the process environment (recognizing the fact that it is often an on-going battle of control rather than complete elimination).
This strategy also includes prevention of contamination - all of those things that come into process environment from outside - whether that is raw materials or even non-food (workers, inspectors, pallets, maintenance tools, carts, forklifts, used equipment, etc).  Who knows, some of this may be coming from a facility fighting its own endemic contamination issue.
Epi Curve, September 17, 2015
People infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes, by month of specimen collection*
CDC Outbreaks
Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Soft Cheeses
Posted September 18, 2015 9:00 AM ET
CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis). Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness.
  • Five rare DNA fingerprints of Listeria are included in this investigation.
  • Whole genome sequencing showed that the Listeria strains with the five rare DNA fingerprints are closely related genetically.
  • Twenty-four people infected with one of the closely related Listeria strains have been reported from nine states since August 8, 2010.

Friday, September 18, 2015

FSIS Alerts Consumers About Raw Breaded Chicken Breasts Containing Salmonella

FSIS is alerting consumers that the Salmonella strains responsible for an foodborne illness outbreak, that resulted in stuffed chicken product being recalled by Aspen Foods in July, have been isolated from the Aspen Foods processing facility.  FSIS is now worried about all product produced since the recall in July through September 17th. 

While this product is only partially cooked, and provides instructions for the consumer to fully cook, FSIS feels that there are systematic issues at the facility.  However the company has refused to recall the product.
FSIS News Alert
FSIS Issues Public Health Alert For Stuffed Chicken Products Due To Possible Salmonella Contamination
Congressional and Public Affairs  Gabrielle N. Johnston  (202) 720-9113
WASHINGTON, September 17, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is alerting consumers that frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken products produced by Aspen Foods, a division of Koch Poultry Company, a Chicago, Ill. establishment have been confirmed as having the same Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak strain which was part of a July 15, 2015 recall.

California Company Recalling Cheeses Due to Potential Link to Listeria Infections

A California cheese manufacturer is recalling various cheeses after FDA and CDC notified the company that the company's product may be linked to Listeria related illnesses.  Listeria has not been isolated from the product.

FDA Recall Notice
Karoun Dairies, Inc. Issues Nationwide Voluntary Recall of Various Cheeses Because of Possible Health Risk


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — September 16, 2015 — San Fernando, CA — Today Karoun Dairies, Inc. announced that it is voluntarily recalling a variety of cheeses it distributes due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. To date, no product has tested positive for Listeria but in view of the association with listeriosis cases Karoun Dairies Inc. is initiating a voluntary recall in the interest of protecting public health.

Consumers Warned About Dangerous Dietary Supplements

A NY dietary supplement company is recalling their supplements because they have unacceptable levels of mercury and lead.  Yikes....they are so bad that FDA advices consumers who are using them to consult a medical health provider.

Dietary supplements sales are driven by people searching for the secret passage to healthy living through a pill or drink.  Surely they think that there is something not in their normal diet and with the dietary supplement, it is going to make the individual feel better, look better, and live forever.  Some providers of dietary supplements prey on these aspirations by concocting various potions with unique live enhancing qualities and then market them by  having that unique story....that these were used by the ancients...or as in this case, the company Baidyanath connecting to Ayurveda, traditional Hindu medicine.  Okay, maybe these traditional Hindu medical doctors had something going on that was great, but hopefully, high mercury and lead content in the medicines were not part of it. 

Along with this recall, we have an Iowa company, Iowa Select Herbs, who was court ordered to recall a boatload of product made since the start of the year. 

Unfortunately, these dietary supplemtn providers have takes advantage of an under regulated industry - whether it is terms of over-the-top health claims, product that was improperly prepared, or formulations that are dangerous.   While some of these providers are nothing more than modern day snake oil salesmen, others go into the business believing that they are doing good, but do not have the necessary level of technical knowledge or capabilities.  Unfortunately for consumers, it can be difficult to determine which product is going to have dangerous levels of mercury or lead. It is good to see the increased regulatory scrutiny.

FDA Consumer Advisory
FDA Consumer Advice on Shree Baidyanath Brand Ayurveda Dietary Supplements
September 17, 2015
What you need to know

Consumers who have used any of the Baidyanath brand Ayurvedic dietary supplements listed below should stop using them and consult their health care provider.

Testing by the New York Department of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found that these products contain high levels of lead and/or mercury, which can cause serious health problems.

The products are manufactured by Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan in India and sold in the United States at retail and via the Internet. One major retailer has recalled the products. The FDA is working to identify other companies that may have sold the products.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

FSMA Preventive Controls Rule for Human Foods - A First Look

The FDA released the final rule for the Preventive Controls for Human Foods. For those who have been tasked with reviewing the PDF file of approximately 930 pages, it is easy to become overwhelmed. However, it is not as bad as it looks. The actual regulation, which starts around page 834, is then roughly only about 100 pages. Considering that the GMP regulation is included (formerly 21CFR part 110) and there are many pages dedicated to discussing on-farm exemptions, the meat of the regulation is rather brief In fact, this version has been skillfully streamlined compared to the last released supplemental version.

So this primer takes a look at new aspects as well as walks through the major sections of the regulation. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Gourmet Spreads from Maryland Processor Found to be Positive for Listeria

 A boutique food manufacturer in Maryland has been notified by Maryland Department of Health that their gourmet spreads were found to be contaminated with Listeria.   This product, produced by Picnic Gourmet Foods, is sold through Whole Foods and other boutique food shops.

 These types of product must be produced under tight controls to prevent Listeria contamination.  According to the company website, "All of our spreads are all natural, hormone & preservative free"...too bad they were not Listeria free.

FDA Recall Notice
Picnic Gourmet Spreads Issues Recall for Potential Health Risks

Contact:  Consumer:
Media:  Brady Marz, Picnic Gourmet Spreads  301-983-1241

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Sept. 21, 2015 - Potomac, MD - Out of an abundance of caution, Picnic Gourmet Spreads is issuing a recall on their yogurt cheese spreads. These spreads could potentially be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Spinach Recalled After Low Levels of Cadmium Detected

A California produce company is recalling spinach for Cadmium contamination after trace levels were found through testing. 

Cadmium is naturally found in soil, but in low levels.  Higher concentrations can be found when associated with different types of industrial practices.  No maximum tolerance levels have been set and minimal concentrations are not likely to have any immediate impact, and even these levels would be unlikely to have long term impacts.

FDA Recall Notice
Limited Precautionary Recall of 5 oz organicgirl Baby Spinach Announced

Contact:  Consumer:  (866) 486-4939  (831) 758-7810

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 10, 2015 – Salinas, California - organicgirl Produce is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity of 5 oz. organicgirl Baby Spinach with a Use-by Date of September 13 and Product Code B030298-001B08S due to test results indicating the presence of trace levels of the naturally-occurring element cadmium. The recall includes 1,290 cases distributed primarily to Western and Midwestern states. No other organicgirl Baby Spinach products or other organicgirl salads are included in the recall.

No illnesses are reported in association with this recall.

Sliced Apple Product Recalled for Potential Listeria

A Pennsylvania company is recalling sliced apple product for potential Listeria contamination after an environmental sample was found to be positive.  No illnesses have been reported.

FDA Recall Notice
Appeeling Fruit Inc. Voluntarily Recalls Limited Production Of Sliced Apples Because Of Possible Health Risk

Stephanie Schreiber
610-926-6601 ext. 22

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 9, 2015 – Appeeling Fruit Inc. in Dauberville, Penn. is voluntarily recalling a limited number of consumer packages of fresh sliced apples with Best-if-Used-by dates of 09/14/15 and 09/21/15, due to the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Cucumbers Up to 341 Cases in 30 States

CDC reports that there are now 341 cases of salmonelloisis related to cucumbers.  The California company issued a recall last week, for cucumbers, but still has no idea of how the product became contaminated.  In a press release, they stated that they have ceased all operations.

CDC Website
Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Poona Infections Linked to Imported Cucumbers
Posted September 9, 2015 4:30 PM ET

Read the Recall & Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, and Retailers >>
  • CDC, multiple states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Poona infections.
  • 341 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona have been reported from 30 states, an increase of 56 cases since the last update on September 4. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cucumbers from California Recalled for Potential Link to Salmonella Outbreak

A California company is recalling cucumbers because these cucumbers might be linked to a Salmonella outbreak.  It is reported that there are illnesses in 27 states.

FDA Recall Notice
Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce Recalls Limited Edition Brand® Cucumbers Because of Possible Health Risk
Contact: Consumer: 619-661-6004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — September 4, 2015— Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce (“A&W”) of San Diego, California is voluntarily recalling all cucumbers sold under the Limited Edition® label during the period from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015 because it may be contaminated with Salmonella.

A&W is currently working with health authorities to determine if, in fact, this product is the source of an outbreak of Salmonella with illnesses being reporting in as many as 27 states.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Kraft Expands Sliced Cheese Product Recall Because of More Plastic Film Complaints

Kraft is expanding its recall to 335,000 cases of cheese product because they received more complaints of small pieces of plastic film remaining on the cheese product slices.

Kraft initially recalled 36,000 cases of sliced cheese product after receiving 10 complaints (3 reports of consumer choking) on the individually wrapped cheese product when the wrapping does not completely come off leaving a strip of plastic film.

Washington Post
To Your Health
Kraft cheese expands recall of American cheese singles by 10 times

By Elahe Izadi September 4 at 12:22 PM

Kraft has massively expanded its voluntary recall of some American cheese singles, due to new consumer complaints about the plastic film representing a potential choking hazard, the company announced Thursday.

Food Truck Provider Linked to E.coli Outbreak at Farmers' Market

Mexican food sold at a farmers' market in King County, WA (Seattle) is being linked to E. coli outbreak.  According to a recent report, there are now 10 illnesses.

The vendor, Los Chilangos, utilizes food trucks for providing food.   Food trucks are a growing trend, especially on the west coast.  While farmers' markets was the venue in this case, I think it is important to note that this is not what one would consider as the traditional farmers' market food vendor.  However, both farmers' markets and food trucks are gaining additional scrutiny from food safety professionals, because both are easier markets to enter for boding food entrepreneurs.
Health investigators: E. coli cases linked to food sold at farmers markets
Updated: 11:18 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015 | Posted: 3:54 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015
King County Public Health is investigating six E. coli cases that appear to be linked to a food sold at local farmers markets.
  • 6 sickened
  • 3 hospitalized
  • Los Chilangos food service shut down
  • Owners working with health department
“Through a few initial interviews with ill people, we determined that everyone who became sick had something in common – they ate food prepared by, a local food vendor called Los Chilangos,” Public Health staff said in a statement.
Los Chilangos serves food at seven farmers markets in King and Snohomish counties, operates two food trucks, and also caters events. The kitchen was told to stop producing food, as were the food trucks that used it. 

Bottled Water Recalled Due to Milk Allergen

A Texas company is recalling gallons of bottled water after a quality review found that the water may have milk allergen in it.

How can something like this arise?  Often times milk bottling operations will also bottle water using the same equipment (cold fill type of operation).  A good sanitation regime should get rid of any residual allergens, but if something is not completed properly, residual allergens may be left in pipes or the filler.

FDA Recall Notice
H-E-B Issues A Voluntary Recall On Hill Country Fare One Gallon Spring Water Due To The Possible Presence Of Undeclared Allergen

Voluntary recall specific only to stores in the Houston, Central Texas and the Gulf Coast areas

Contact:  Consumer: Leslie Sweet, H-E-B (512) 293-1220

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 2, 2015 – Austin, TX – H-E-B has issued a voluntary recall specifically for the Hill Country Fare One Gallon Spring Water with the Best By date of December 19, 2015, due to the possible presence of a milk allergen. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product. There have been no consumer complaints or reports of illness.

H-E-B discovered the issue on September 1, 2015, during quality assurance product reviews. This recall is specific to one gallon containers of Hill Country Fare Spring Water with a Best By Date of December 19, 2015. No other H-E-B or Hill Country Fare products are impacted by this voluntary recall.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Frozen Corn Recalled for Listeria After Positive Test Result

Another frozen vegetable product is being recalled for Listeria.  In this case, it is frozen corn.  Listeria was found through testing conducted by the State of Tennessee.

In making frozen cut corn, the corn is husked, cut, water blanched followed by immediate cooling, IQF freezing and then packaging.  The water blanch temperature will be greater than 180F, generally 190 to boiling.  Therefore, any Listeria contamination would need to come from the post-blanch environment - from cooling to packaging.

Frozen corn is generally cooked by the consumer before serving, although there may be some RTE applications (although can't think of any).  Therefore, frozen corn would not have been considered a high risk product, so unsure why the State of TN decided to test this item.

Just this week, frozen green beans were recalled due to Listeria.

FDA Recall Notice
Bonduelle USA Recalls Frozen Corn Because Of Possible Health Risk


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 31, 2015 – Brockport, NY – Bonduelle USA Inc. of Brockport, NY is recalling 9,335 cases of frozen corn because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.