Grinch Steals Christmas Salads

The Grinch who stole Christmas has a new name, and it is Listeria monocytogenes.

Late yesterday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally posted Food Safety Alerts for two separate outbreaks of Listeria monocytogenes.

Both outbreaks have been traced to contaminated packaged salads.

Both outbreaks have been simmering for years.

Both outbreaks have caused at least one death.

The Fresh Express Outbreak

According to the CDC’s Investigation report, this outbreak began on July 26, 2016, with a cluster of three cases in July and August of that year.

The fourth case occurred in October 2020, followed by the remaining six cases in February, August, September and October 2021.

All ten of the victims of this outbreak were hospitalized and there was one death (a Pennsylvania resident).

From CDC’s Food Safety Alert for Fresh Express outbreak

Illnesses associated with this outbreak were reported from eight states: Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

From CDC’s Food Safety Alert for Fresh Express outbreak

On December 16, 2021, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recovered Listeria monocytogenes from a sample of Fresh Express Sweet Hearts Romaine Lettuce Sweet Butter Lettuce during a routine surveillance program. The state issued a Consumer Advisory the following day.

The CDC identified this outbreak after the microbe recovered from the salad sample was genetically typed and matched against genetic profiles contained in the agency’s database.

On December 20, 2021, Fresh Express announced a US recall of branded and private label salad products produced at the company’s Streamwood, Illinois facility.

Brands included in the recall are: Fresh Express, Bowl & Basket, Giant Eagle, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, O Organics, Signature Farms, Simply Nature, Weis Fresh from the Field, and Wellsley Farms Organic.

Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Some of the Fresh Express salad products were also distributed in Canada. Please refer to the CFIA recall notice for complete details on the twenty-three items recalled in Canada.

As of today, there have been no reported illnesses in Canada that are linked to the Fresh Express products.

The Dole Fresh Vegetables Outbreak

The first illness in this outbreak occurred in August 2014. After a gap of four years, additional cases began to appear, beginning in September 2018 and continuing through October 2021.

From CDC’s Food Safety Alert for Dole outbreak

In all, sixteen people in thirteen states have been infected with the Dole outbreak strain. Twelve people have been hospitalized and two have died.

States reporting infections in this outbreak include: Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan (one death), Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin (one death).

From CDC’s Food Safety Alert for Dole outbreak

The CDC already was aware of this outbreak, having investigated it twice before—in 2019 and again in 2020. But, it had been unable to identify its source. The agency reopened its investigation in November 2021, after receiving reports of four new illnesses caused by the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes.

The link between the illnesses and salad products from Dole Fresh Vegetables was confirmed as a result of testing carried out by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

On December 22, 2021, Dole announced a recall of all Dole-branded and private label packaged salads processed at its Bessemer City, NC and Yuma, AZ processing facilities.

Affected brands include: Ahold, Dole, Kroger, Lidl, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, Naturally Better, Nature’s Promise, and Simply Nature.

Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

There does not appear to have been any Canadian distribution of the recalled products.

What Consumers Need to Know

If you were planning to serve a packaged salad with your Christmas dinner, DON’T.

Do not eat any recalled packaged salads.

  • Throw them away or return them to where you bought them.
  • Clean your refrigerator, items, and surfaces that may have touched the recalled products. Listeria can survive in the refrigerator and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have these symptoms after eating packaged salads.

  • Pregnant people usually experience only fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. However, Listeria can cause pregnancy loss or premature birth. It can also cause serious illness or death in newborns.
  • People who are not pregnant may experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.

Stay up to date on this outbreak by following CDC on Facebook or Twitter, or by following eFoodAlert

  • Share the latest outbreak information with your friends and family who are at higher risk of getting sick from Listeria(aged 65 and older, are pregnant, or have a weakened immune system).

Recalls and Alerts: December 21-22, 2021

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Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

Interested in learning more about food safety and the history of foodborne disease outbreaks and investigations? Click on the TAINTED menu at the top of the page to read a short excerpt, then follow the buy links to add a digital or print copy to your personal library.

United States

OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION: FDA, CDC and state and local agencies are investigating an outbreak of ten cases of Listeria monocytogenes illnesses in eight states linked to consumption of Fresh Express Packaged Salad. Fresh Express has recalled multiple brands of packaged salad products (see below).

OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION: FDA, CDC and state and local agencies are investigating on outbreak of sixteen cases of Listeria monocytogenes illnesses in thirteen states linked to consumption of packaged salads produced by Dole and sold under multiple brand names. Two people have died. Please see the Dole recall notice, below, for additional information.

Allergy Alert: Dream Pops recalls select Dream Pops Bites products due to undeclared milk. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Allergy Alert: Local Fixe LLC recalls Classic Lasagna Sheets, Soup Noodles, Dinner Rolls, Pie Dough, Squid Ink – Fettucine, and Fresh Flour Tortillas due to undeclared wheat (gluten). Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected lot codes for each product.

Allergy Alert: Joy’s International Foods recalls Joy’s Gourmet Bloody Mary Mix (24-oz bottle; Best by 08-18-2023) due to undeclared soy and fish.

Food Safety Recall: Fresh Express recalls certain varieties of its branded and private label salad products produced at the company’s Streamwood, Illinois facility after one of its products was linked to an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections in eight states (see above). Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Dole Fresh Vegetables recalls all Dole-branded and private label packaged salads processed at its Bessemer City, NC and Yuma, AZ processing facilities (Best if Used By dates between November 30, 2021, and January 8, 2022) due to possible  Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Affected salad brands include: Ahold, Dole, Kroger, Lidl, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, Naturally Better, Nature’s Promise, and Simply Nature. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: HAIFA SMOKED FISH recalls TURBOT COLD SMOKED (8 oz / 227g; Lot #246) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall: RIPPLE FOODS PBC recalls Ripple Dairy-Free. As It Should Be 8g Plant Based Protein (6 x 48 fl oz. bottles/case; Lots YF21250 and YF21251; Best by 3/6/2022 & 3/7/2022, respectively) due to Bacillus cereus contamination. This product was recalled by letter notification only on 11/20/2021 and has only just been posted on the FDA Enforcement Report web page.

Food Safety Recall: Mitsubishi International Food Ingredients, Inc. recalls Yeast Extract Ajirex  (15 kg bag in box; Lot AR21B13401; Expiration date Aug 2, 2022; Product number 6225796 205 01M) due to possible Salmonella contamination. This product was recalled by email notification only on 11/29/2021 and has only just been posted on the FDA Enforcement Report web page.

Food Safety Recall: MOTHERS MILK BANK OF NORTH TEXAS recalls Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas 817-810-0071 Pasteurized Donor Human milk (100 ml / 1.00g/dL protein; Batch #025958-1; Order #ORD0321480) due to foreign matter (piece of glass) contamination. This product was recalled on 11/29/2021 and has only just been posted on the FDA Enforcement Report web page.

FDA Warning Letter: FDA issues Warning Letter to The Famous Lantigue Seafood after an inspection of the company’s seafood processing facility revealed multiple serious violations of the Seafood Hazard Regulations.

FDA Warning Letter: FDA issues Warning Letter to Banner Smoked Fish Inc. after an inspection of the company’s ready-to-eat (RTE) cold- and hot-smoked seafood processing facility revealed multiple instances of Listeria monocytogenes in the production environment and serious violations of the Seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation.

Canada

OUTBREAK INVESTIGATION UPDATE: PHAC reports 84 confirmed cases of Salmonella Enteritidis infections in British Columbia (36), Alberta (30), Saskatchewan (4), Manitoba (12) and Ontario (2). The outbreak has been linked to Alasko brand frozen whole kernel corn.

Food Safety Recall: Fresh Express Incorporated recalls certain Fresh Express brand salad products due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Europe

Allergy Alert (Finland): Health and Sports Nutrition Group HSNG AB recalls several Walden Farms products due to undeclared sulphites, milk, fish or soya. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Allergy Alert (Ireland): Dunnes Stores recalls Dunnes Stores Green Olives – Greek Green Pitted Olives (275g; Use by 14.01.2022) due to undeclared sulphur dioxide.

Allergy Alert (Italy): C.S.I Compagnia Surgelati Italiana S.p.A. recalls Findus brand Gnocchetti alla Sorrentina (550g; Lots L1319 & 1320; Best before 12/2022) due to undeclared fish and shellfish.

Allergy Alert (Luxembourg): Authorities recall Gaby’s Nudelküche brand Currynudeln / Curry noodles (250g; Best before 15.08.2021, 1.10.2022 & 30.09.2023) due to undeclared mustard.

Allergy Alert (Sweden): Health and Sports Nutrition Group HSNG AB recalls several Walden Farms products due to undeclared sulphites, milk, fish or soya. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Allergy Alert (UK): Bennett Opie Ltd recalls Opies Pickled Walnuts (390g; Batch code L1327; Best before 11/2024) due to undeclared mustard and sulphites.

Allergy Alert (UK): Dunnes Stores recalls Dunnes Stores Green Olives – Greek Green Pitted Olives (275g; Use by 14 January 2022) due to undeclared sulphur dioxide.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Vleeswaren Bruynkens nv recalls Vleeswaren Bruynkens nv brand Mini-boulettes de soupe / Mini soup balls (500g; Lots 4801, 4802, 4803, 4906, 4907 & 4908; Best by 22/12/2021, 23/12/2021, 24/12/2021, 27/12/2021, 28/12/2021 & 29/12/2021) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Allergikost A/S recalls G-Foods Mørkt fuldkornsbrød i skiver (glutenfrit) / Dark, sliced whole-meal bread, gluten-free (500g; Lot 18.03.2022; Best before 18.03.2022) due to mold contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Finland): Lejos Oy recalls Ella’s Kitchen-tuotemerkin tuotetta Banaani-rusina kaurapatukka luomu / Organic Banana-raisin oat bar (25g; Best before 29.03.2022) due to elevated ochratoxin A levels.

Food Safety Recall (France): PAIMPOLDIS recalls charcuterie de campagne Ollivier brand pâté de tête persillé / Head cheese with parsley (Use by 15/12/2021) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Slimane Foie Gras recalls Slimane Foie Gras brand Rillettes de canards / Duck rillettes (180g; Lots 2110 to 2157; All best before dates between 03/08/24 and 08/11/24) due to insufficient heat processing.

Food Safety Recall (France): Slimane Foie Gras recalls Slimane Foie Gras brand Gésier de canard confit / Duck gizzard confit (400g & 800g; Lots 2110 to 2157; All best before dates between 03/08/24 and 08/11/24) due to insufficient heat processing.

Food Safety Recall (France): AVREDIS recalls PONT L’EVEQUE AOP LAIT CRU / Raw cows’ milk cheese (200g; No lot codes) due to E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): USSEL DISTRIBUTION LECLERC recalls Pâté basque au piment d’Espelette / Basque pâté with Espelette peppers (No lot code information) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Australia and New Zealand

Allergy Alert (Australia): House of Biskota recalls Gluten Free Choc Almond Handmade Biscuits (All BEST BEFORE dates from and including 09JUN22 up to and including 07DEC2022) due to undeclared milk.

Recalls and Alerts: September 24 – 26, 2020

Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

If you would like to receive automatic email alerts for all new articles posted on eFoodAlert, please submit your request using the sidebar link.

United States

OUTBREAK ALERT UPDATE: The outbreak of Cyclospora infections that began in May and was linked to bagged salad mix appears to be over, according to CDC. As of September 23rd, 701 people in 14 states were lab-confirmed to have been infected with Cyclospora after consuming bagged salad mixes from the Fresh Express production facility in Streamwood, IL. Thirty-eight people were hospitalized. According to FDA, the probable source of the outbreak has been traced to a farm in south Florida. Cyclospora has been recovered from a regional water management canal west of Port St. Lucie, FL. However, FDA has been unable to determine whether or not the Cyclospora found in the canal water is a genetic match for the outbreak strain. The canal provided irrigation water to the farm in question. FDA and state agencies are continuing the investigation.

OUTBREAK ALERT: CDC reports an outbreak of 41 Salmonella Stanley infections in 10 states. The outbreak has been linked to dried wood ear mushrooms (also known as Kikurage, Dried Black Fungus, Dried Fungus, or Mu’er/Mu Er/Mu-Err) imported from China by Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. The mushrooms were supplied to only restaurants in the United States and Canada, and were not available for sale directly to consumers.

Food Safety Recall: Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. recalls Shirakiku brand imported Dried Fungus, also known as Black Fungus or Kikurage (5 lb; All Lots with Item #60403 on the package; UPC 00074410604035; Product of China) due to Salmonella contamination.

Canada

Allergy Alert Update: Loblaw Companies Limited recalls PC brand chicken strips – gluten free (600g; Best before 2021 AL 20; UPC 0 60383 20488 4) due to undeclared wheat (gluten). The original recall notice has been updated to include additional distribution information. Please refer to the notice for details.

Allergy Alert: Marché Adonis recalls Pizza Adonis (various flavours; All product sold up to and including 23 September 2020) due to undeclared walnuts, peanuts, mustard, egg, milk, sesame, soy and sulphites.

Food Safety Recall Update: Evergreen International Foodstuffs Ltd. recalls certain Manila clams (25 lb; Lot #21057; Harvest date Sep 16, 2020; Harvest location B.C. 17-20; Processing date Sep 17, 2020) due to a maring biotoxin which causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. The original recall notice has been updated to include additional distribution information. Please refer to the notice for details.

Food Safety Recall: Wismettac Asian Foods, Inc. recalls Shirakiku brand Black Fungus (Kikurage) (2.27 kg; All codes sold up to and including September 24, 2020; UPC 0 74410 60403 5; Product of China) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall: Bagel St-Lo recalls Saumon Fumé / Smoked salmon (Variable weight; All product sold up to and including 25 September 2020) due to the lack of “Best before” dating.

Food Safety Recall: Marché Adonis recalls Fromage Parmesan Grana Padano and Fromage Parmesan Reggiano parmesan cheeses (variable weights; All product sold up to and including 23 September 2020) because the packaging does not indicate that the cheeses were made from raw (unpasteurized) milk.

Food Safety Recall: Loblaw Companies Limited recalls Butchers Choice brand Medium Ground Beef Butcher Pack (~1.1 kg; Best Before 20.SE.24; UPC starts with 217403) due to foreign matter (pieces of plastic) contamination.

Europe

Allergy Alert (Belgium): Albert Heijn recalls KIPS Vega Paté (125 g; Best by 19/11/2020) due to undeclared soy.

Allergy Alert (Denmark): Candyana ApS recalls Hostess Twinkies (385g; Lot #110821000; Best before 04/2021) and Oreo O’s Cereal (311g; Lot #DEC1620PDM; Best before 16/12/2020) because the Danish label lacks emphasis on some of the allergens.

Allergy Alert (Iceland): Industry recalls Íslandsnaut Hamborgarasósa, Smash Style / hamburger sauce (250 ml; Best before 08-01-2021) due to undeclared flour.

Allergy Alert (Ireland): Consumers are warned that Iceland Fish Pie (480g; Batch code L0204; Best before 23/01/22) contains undeclared barley (gluten).

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Biofresh Belgium recalls Picoreur Cuisse de poulet blanc / White chicken leg (250g; Lot #258001101; Best before 01/10/2020) due to Salmonella contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Norenca nv recalls Carpaccio de bœuf / Beef carpaccio (Lot #91001010; Best before 25/09/2020) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Vegromix recalls SPAR brand Salade au Jambon / Ham salad (300g; All Best before dates up to and including 28/09) due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Alert (Finland): The Finnish Food Safety Authority has received information that Salmonella has been detected in Farmer Farms Favorites 10% minced beef (1000g; Batch #2036120 0503; Expiration date 13.09.2020)  delivered to Finland by the Danish operator Skare Meat Packers. Consumers are advised either to dispose of the frozen product or to use the minced meat when cooked well.

Food Safety Recall (France): SOCIÉTÉ NOUVELLE DES DOUCEURS DE JACQUEMART recalls Maison Jacquemart brand Lunettes de Romans Fraise / strawberry-filled biscuits (Lot 20211.3; Best before 25/04/2021) due to foreign matter (small metal pieces) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): Industry recalls Monoprix Gourmet brand Gorgonzola AOP (200 g; Lot #P231002; Best before 01/10/2020; Product of Italy) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Germany): DMK Group recalls MILRAM Kümmelkäse Scheiben 45% / cheese (150g; Best before 16.12.2020) due to foreign matter (plastic) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Luxembourg): Auchan recalls escalopes de dinde Halal / Halal turkey cutlets (3-pack tray; Lot #0340068233; Best before 27/09/2020) due to possible Salmonella contamination.