Massive Recall Of Frozen Fruits And Veggies Packaged In Pasco, Wash., Expands After Listeria Outbreak

There’s been a voluntary recall of fruits and vegetables by a food packaging company based in Washington D.C.

A total of about 360 types of organic and non-organic frozen vegetables and fruits may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria which is a very fatal bacteria.

The outbreak was announced recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and it stated that across three states in the U.S about eight people had been hospitalized.

From the eight people hospitalised a total of three people had died from the listeria outbreak, two from Maryland and one from Washington D.C.

The other people hospitalised are from California according to the CDC.

Frozen fruits and veggies from 42 brands were believed to be responsible for this outbreak. These frozen foods are packaged by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington D.C and are available at many grocery stores in the 50 states of the U.S and also in some parts of Canada.

It is believed that because of the long shelf life of these products many consumers could actually have the contaminated products in their homes without even realising it according to a blog post of Bill Marler who is a personal injury and products liability attorney from Washington D.C.

Ensure That Your Refrigerator Is Healthy

According to Jeff Olsen of the Mayo Clinic, people need to be sure that their refrigerator is healthy. They need to check;

  • The temperature
  • How food is arranged
  • Ensure that it is cleaned regularly

A full list of recalled products are available on the website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The product list includes both organic and non-organic products, some of which include;

  • 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.

The CRF Frozen Foods news release stated that they were sincerely sorry for their contaminated products and that they were working hard to recall all their products from all the stores across the U.S.

They also urged consumers to discard products purchased and that a compensation was being planned for them.

The company stated that Listeria monocytogenes is usually found in water and soil and that according to the CDC animals can serve as hosts for the bacterium showing no signs of ill health but they will eventually contaminate foods which are of animal origin like dairy products and meat.

They stated that when the listeria bacteria gets into a food processing factory they can incubate for years and can sometimes contaminate food products.

The CDC warn that consuming foods with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria can be life threatening and that it can affect anyone regardless of race, gender or age but it is even more fatal to people with a weak immune system as well as pregnant women as it can lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, infections in newborns that could be life threatening and premature delivery.

Most times according to the CDC symptoms include;

  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea

The recall of 11 products produced in April 23 was the first statement and move made by the company, subsequently they expanded the recall to include products made from May 1, 2014.

The factory stopped it’s packaging process pending a review.

The CDC got word of the outbreak in March as it was informed that a number of people had been ill from the consumption of Organic by Nature brand frozen vegetables, manufactured by CRF Frozen Foods.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture also had test done to a number of packages of frozen vegetables during a routine product-sampling program at about the same period that the CDC were made aware of the outbreak.

The CDC stated that the Ohio, department discovered Listeria in the frozen organic white sweet cut corn and petite green peas, the two products from the brand -- True Goodness by Meijer, incidentally manufactured by CRF Frozen Foods.

The tests revealed that the listeria found in the patients were genetically identical to that discovered in the products.

Outbreaks Of Listeria Is Fairly Common In The U.S

  • In 2015, Blue Bell Creameries had to recall all of its ice cream products when about 10 people across four states were reported ill. Three of the four people died. The recall was however the first ever in the company’s over 100-year old history.
  • In 2016, Dole recalled all its salad mixes which were produced in an Ohio processing facility when people who had eaten the greens became ill. 19 cases were reported in all and across 19 states. The 19 people were all hospitalized, and only one fatality was recorded, an individual from Michigan died.

Contaminated milk and pre-packaged caramel apples have also been involved in past listeria outbreaks.

In 2011, Jensen Farms in Colorado had listeria bacteria ridden cantaloupes. The number of people infected rise to 147, the food-borne illness also killed about 33 people and hospitalized a total of 143 people across about 28 states in the U.S. This is one of the deadliest cases recorded.

According to the CDC the frozen vegetable case is termed as being “complicated” and they said that investigation is was still ongoing.

The CRF Frozen Foods have asked concerned consumers to please call the company’s hotline at 844-483-3866.