Contamination Concerns Prompt Recall of 42 Frozen Produce Brands

Contamination fears have sparked a massive recall of several brands of frozen fruits and vegetables. CRF Frozen Foods — based in Pasco, Washington — has issued the recall due to concerns that some of its products may be contaminated with listeria, a potentially life-threatening bacteria.

The company’s voluntary recall includes both organic and conventional fruits and vegetables. Some of the recalled brands – both name brands and private-label products — are carried at Trader Joe’s, Costco and other retail outlets. Label names include Bybee’s, Columbia River Organics, Organic by Nature and others. (Here is a link to the complete list of recalled products.)

The total list involves 358 products from 42 different brands. Affected products have use-by and sell- by dates from April 26, 2016 to April 26, 2018.

Nationwide, seven people from three states have become ill and hospitalized due to listeria, and some of the cases were linked to consumption of the CRF products. Two of the hospitalized individuals have died, “but listeria was not the cause of death in either person,” the company says.

“We are performing this voluntary recall in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because these products have the potential to be contaminated with listeria monocytogenes,” according to a statement from CRF Frozen Foods.

Products include organic and non-organic:
• 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, stir fry packages.
• Blueberries, cherries, cranberries, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries.

“We apologize for any concern or inconvenience this expanded recall has caused our customers and consumers who enjoy our products. We are issuing this release to alert consumers not to eat these products,” the company said. “Consumers who purchased these products may return them to the store where they were purchased for a refund, or simply discard them.”

Listeria Facts

Listeria can be fatal or cause meningitis or encephalitis in those with impaired immune systems. People with greatest risk of contracting listeriosis include:
• Pregnant women.
• Newborns.
• Adults 65 and older.
• People with weakened immune systems.

“The organism can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems,” according to a statement from CRF. “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.”

People with compromised immune systems include cancer patients, HIV-positive individuals and those with certain chronic diseases, says Barbara Russell, R.N., director of Infection Prevention and Control Services for Baptist Hospital. The consequences are less severe for most people, and exposure to Listeria could cause an upset stomach, pain or abdominal discomfort.

“Consumers who develop symptoms of listeriosis after eating recalled products can consider seeking medical care and telling a health care provider about eating product that was recalled because of possible listeria contamination,” the CDC says.

You can develop listeriosis up to 60 days after eating a contaminated item. But in most cases symptoms develop within days, the CDC says.

“Obviously, it’s something you have to be careful about. CRF Frozen Foods is doing the right thing by pulling the product. That’s how you stop a major outbreak.” Ms. Russell says. “If you are not feeling well and if you have eating something from CRF Frozen Foods, report it to your primary care physician or go to Urgent Care to get it checked out.”

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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