National Frozen Food Corporation announced Friday it was voluntarily recalling a series of its frozen mixed vegetables and frozen green peas due to possible contamination with the Listeria monocytogenes. The potentially contaminated products were sold across the United States between Sept. 2, 2015, and June 2, 2016. After conducting safety tests, the company found that a sample of the items showed bacteria risk.
The affected products were packaged by the brands Bountiful Harvest, Great Value, Live Smart, First Street, Sprouts Farmers Market and Market Pantry. No illnesses have been reported, but the Food and Drug Administration urged customers who acquired any of the recalled products to return them for a full refund.
National Frozen Food also supplies Green Cuisine, whose pesto pasta salad with arugula tested positive for Listeria, too. The product was sold between June 15 and 16 in Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona Whole Foods Market locations.
An outbreak of Listeria illness led CRF Frozen Foods to recall in April all of its frozen vegetable and fruit items from its facility located in Pasco, Washington. The recall issued by National Frozen Food has not been linked to that one, according to Food Safety News.
Based in Seattle, National Frozen Food Corporation said that infection risk can be significantly reduced if its costumers follow the cooking instructions on products sold by the company, which warned that Listeria can lead to severe and sometimes fatal illness in young, elderly or people whose immune system is weakened.
Pregnant women infected with the bacteria can experience miscarriages, stillbirth, or premature delivery. There is also the possibility of infection of the newborn. All women expecting a baby are about ten times more likely to contract the disease compared to other women. Approximately 14 percent of all cases of listeriosis are reported during pregnancy.
Everyone at a high risk of listeriosis should avoid eating hot dogs, cold cuts, and other deli meats. Sausages that are dry or fermented should also be avoided unless they are thoroughly cooked. This group of vulnerable people is also urged to stop or avoid consumption of refrigerated meat spreads and pâtés, soft cheese and refrigerated smoked seafood.
Symptoms include an intense headache, nausea, stiffness, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. People infected can also experience fever, muscle aches, confusion and even convulsions. Foodborne illness due to Listeria contamination means that the patient has an infection that has most likely spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract. Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, but patients should first contact their physician.
General prevention methods
It is important thoroughly to cook meat and clean raw fruits and vegetables before consumption. Health experts recommend keeping uncooked meats and poultry separate from cooked foods and veggies. Unpasteurized milk represents a high risk of infection, which is why everyone should avoid drinking it and eating foods containing it. Washing hands and all utensils is always recommended after having contact with any uncooked food.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 1,600 cases of listeriosis a reported each year in the United States. On average, there are 260 fatal cases.
The bacteria’s name, Listeria, is named after English Dr. Joseph Lister, who introduced sterilization into surgery, as reported by CNN. The surgeon also inspired the name of Listerine, the mouthwash.
Scholars at risk
Food Safety News reported Monday that Integrated Food Service recalls 45 different pre-prepared sandwiches due to potential Listeria contamination in 38 districts. Affected public schools are located in Albuquerque, Indianapolis, Houston, Portland, and Sacramento.
No illnesses have been reported, and the company has not announced whether any of the recalled items had been served to students, but people can be infected for up to 70 days without showing any symptom.
The recall notice reads that the likely contaminated products came from a facility where the FDA found monocytogenes “on multiple food contact surfaces where the products were produced on several different occasions,” according to Food Safety News.