Two recalls for Listeria have been announced in wake of the CRF frozen produce recall, with probably more to come, One is from ConAgra Foods for organic frozen corn and peas sold under the Trader Joe's and Watts Brother labels. The other issued recall was by a Texas firm that is recalling fresh corn relish and bean salad. There will no doubt be more recalls to come as companies evaluate their supply chain.
At the heart of this is a very complex supply chain. CRF and Oregon Potato, two frozen food companies based in the Northwest are ground zero. The problem is that these companies produce product not only for retailers, but also for other manufactures through sales of bulk frozen product. What happens is this...as these seasonal produce items are harvested, much of it goes into bulk. Bulk allows manufacturers to repack product as needed to meet customer demand throughout the year. Within a given season, one company may pack more corn than they have sales for, so they sell bulk product to someone else who needs that product to fill their own orders. These transfers occur throughout the year and allow companies to be efficient in meeting the demand of their customers. That is the good part.
The problem arises when one of the companies has an issue, say Listeria, that then affects the whole chain. For example, Company A is repacking some mixed vegetable product and needs to purchase bulk peas or onions form Supplier B to help fill the order.. Now Company A, who has a great internal Listeria program, purchases Supplier B who may or may not have a good Listeria Program.. Supplier B provides a COA showing that lot was good (Listeria negative). But FDA makes a visit to Supplier B and in conducting environmental testing, they find Listeria in Supplier B's facility.. It could even be that Supplier B sold product to another company who is then implicated in an outbreak that traces back to Supplier B. In these cases, Company A must conduct a recall.
This can even go further back. Supplier B was a little short on onions and purchased onions from Supplier C to help fill their order to Company A. And it is found that Supplier C has an issue. That issue now becomes a problem for Supplier B as well as Company A. And if Company A is producing product for 10 different retailers, now you have a whole lot of retailers having to recall product. And if Supplier C was also selling bulk product to two other repacking companies who were producing product for a dozen more retailers, we can easily see how this can expand.
It is difficult to ensure that suppliers are adequately controlling risk, it can even be harder to make sure that the supplier's supplier is adequately controlling risk. Unfortunately, as logistics / purchasing people look to take advantage of co-packing opportunities, the true cost of risk control may not be considered. These costs can include extensive product testing, on-site visits, insistence that supplier institute aggressive Listeria control programs, etc. To be fair, Listeria control was probably not on many people mind when these deals were made. However, moving forward, it must become a part of the picture.
FDA Recall Notices
When a company announces a recall, market withdrawal, or safety alert, the FDA posts the company's announcement as a public service. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company.
Watts Brothers Farms Organic Mixed Vegetables, Organic Super Sweet Corn, And Organic Peas And Trader Joe's Organic Super Sweet Corn Recalled Because Of Possible Health RiskFor Immediate Release
May 5, 2016
Consumers Consumer Affairs hotline (800) 881-3989
Media Shelby Stoolman 208-424-5461
ConAgra Foods is voluntarily recalling Watts Brothers Farms Organic Mixed Vegetables, Organic Super Sweet Corn (Yellow/Gold), and Organic Peas and Trader Joe’s Organic Super Sweet Corn due to the potential for these products to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. This voluntary action is being undertaken because the Watts Brothers and Trader Joe’s recalled products contain vegetables that are part of the recent CRF Frozen Foods recall.
Listeria monocytogenes is 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.
No illnesses to date have been reported to ConAgra Foods for the products listed below.
Products covered by this recall were distributed in the U.S. Watts Brothers Farms products were sold at Costco and Trader Joe’s products were sold at Trader Joe’s. Specific product names and information are listed below. No other ConAgra Foods or Watts Brothers retail branded products are impacted by this recall.
Watts Brothers Farms Products
The Best Before Date and Package Code is located on the back of the package above the zipper. The HH:MM portion of the Package Code indicates the time product was made and varies by package. Please refer to the attached photographs for examples.
For List of Recalled Products - http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm499623.htm
FDA Recall Notice
Pita Pal Foods, LP Recalls Corn Relish Salad, Texas Caviar Salad, Mediterranean 3 Bean Salad And Chipotle Quinoa Salad Because Of Possible Health Risk
For Immediate Release
May 5, 2016
Consumers Pita Pal Foods, LP 713-777-7482
MediaLAURA CLARK 713-777-7482
Pita Pal Foods, LP of Houston, Texas is recalling Corn Relish Salad, Texas Caviar Salad, Mediterranean 3 Bean Salad and Chipotle Quinoa Salad 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. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria monocytogenes infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
The potential affected products was distributed in eight states including California, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. Products reached consumers through retail stores and food service distributors.
Specific products included in the Voluntary Recall include the following products with Expiration Dates or Use/ Freeze by Dates through June 13, 2016. Products meeting this description or date criteria should be destroyed by the retailer/distributer. All products involved are packaged in plastic containers with snap on lids.
2/5lbs Food Service Pita Pal Corn Relish Salad
2/4lbs Food Service Pita Pal Mediterranean 3 Bean Salad
2/4.5lbs Food Service Pita Pal Texas Caviar
8oz Pita Pal Texas Caviar
8oz Pita Pal Mediterranean 3 Bean Salad
24oz Pita Pal Mediterranean 3 Bean Salad
28oz Pita Pal Chipotle Quinoa Salad
No illnesses have been reported to date from Pita Pal Foods, LP salads. This recall is in direct response to information received from CRF Frozen Foods, an ingredient supplier to Pita Pal Foods, LP of frozen corn. CRF Frozen Foods initiated a voluntary recall on a specific lot of corn that Pita Pal Foods, LP purchased from the supplier and it was used in the manufacturing of the salads listed above. Pita Pal Foods, LP has destroyed the specific product lot of corn in question. In addition all customers and distributors affiliated with Pita Pal Foods, LP have been notified and instructed to destroy any product that could potentially be affected.
Consumers that have any of the above products on hand should return them to the retailer where the product was purchased for a refund. Consumers with questions may contact the Pita Pal Foods, LP at 713-777-7482, Monday – Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm CST.