Thursday, February 9, 2017

NC Firm Expands Recall of Spreads Potentially Contaminated with Listeria

A North Carolina company is expanding its recall of spreads due to the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  Ruth's Salad posted the initial recall on February 2nd for 5 lots of product after NC Department of Agriculture sampled and found Listeria in one lot of product.  But like many other Listeria related recalls, there is good chance of expansion, primarily when the company discovers they may not have as good control as the thought (or they never knew).

Listeria monocytogenes is an environmental pathogen.  It can become persistent if it finds niches that are not adequately cleaned and sanitized.  These niches can be on equipment, or can be on floors, drains, etc.  It moves throughout the facility via a number of vectors including water, personnel, and movable equipment.  

Finding it in a product means the facility either had an ingredient with the organism (where that ingredient was added with no further kill step such as heating) or the organism made its way to a product contact area (located downstream from a kill step) such as piping, filling equipment, etc.. Recently, we saw where an ingredient supplier had an issue in their facility (cookie dough).  But in many of these cases where product is positive, it is within the facility's own environment.  In these cases, and especially when the facility does not have an active Listeria control program, it is hard to know the extent of the risk, and with that, are forced to expand the recall.

FDA Recall Notice
Ruth’s Salad Charlotte NC Expands Recall of Ruth’s Salads Pimento Spreads due to Possible Health Risk. May Contain Listeria monocytogenes
For Immediate Release
February 9, 2017
Consumers Bill Rudisill 800-532-0409 864-616-4504

View Product Photos

Ruth’s Salads Charlotte, NC is expanding the recall of Ruth’s Salads Pimento Cheese Spreads packed in Chester, SC. The products involved include: Ruth’s Original Pimento Spread 7oz; Ruth’s Original Pimento Spread 12 oz.; Ruth’s Original Pimento Spread 24 oz.; Ruth’s Old Fashion Pimento Spread 16 oz.; Ruth’s Jalapeno Pimento Spread 12 oz.; Ruth’s Lite Pimento Spread 12 oz.; and Ruth’s Cream Cheese with Pineapple-Pecans 12 oz. All lot numbers are included in this recall. The products are packed in plastic containers and labeled as “Packed by B&H Foods, Inc., Chester, SC”. The products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria Monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that 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 infections can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged to return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund. All lots and Sell by Dates for products labeled as “Packed by B&H Foods, Inc., Chester, SC” are being recalled. Products labeled as packed in Charlotte, NC are not included in this recall.

Ruth’s Salads is recalling the following items labeled as “Packed by B&H Foods, Inc., Chester, SC”:

ProductUPCSizeRuth’s Original Pimento Spread 74952-00005 7 oz.
Ruth’s Original Pimento Spread 74952-12023 12 oz.
Ruth’s Original Pimento Spread 74952-24023 24 oz.
Ruth’s Old Fashion Pimento Spread 74952-15005 16 oz.
Ruth’s Jalapeno Pimento Spread 74952-12014 12 oz.
Ruth’s Lite Pimento Spread 74952-12000 12 oz.
Ruth’s Cream Cheese w/Pineapple-Pecans 74952-12008 12 oz.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The recalled products were distributed in grocery stores in NC, SC, GA, TN, AL, KY, and parts of Virginia and Tennessee.

The contamination was discovered during random testing by the NC Department of Agriculture. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 800-532-0409 between the hours of 7AM and 3 PM Monday-Friday. After hours, consumers may leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

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