Products sold at more than 40 different brand names at retailers; Costco, Target and Trader Joe’s
Authorities are concerned about stemming Listerial-linked illnesses and deaths in the midst of a massive frozen foods recall.
It involves millions of packages of fruits and vegetables that were shipped to all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico.
They worry it’ll be difficult to get consumers to dig through their freezers and check for products they may have bought as far back as 2014.
It’s one of the largest food recalls in recent memory.
There are well over 400 products from CRF Frozen Foods in Pasco, Washington, sold under more than 40 different brand names at major retailers like Costco, Target, Trader Joe’s and Safeway.
All the cases occurred in the United States.
Eight people developed illnesses linked to Listeria that’s genetically similar to that found in CRF vegetables, and two have died, though Listeria was not the primary cause of death.
The initial recall started April 22, covering 11 frozen vegetable products.
On May 2, CRF expanded it to include all of its frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed at its Washington plant since May 1, 2014.
New research led the Food and Drug Administration and CDC to link Listeria bacteria found in the blood of a person who got sick in 2013 to the Listeria tied to the recall.
The CRF plant closed two weeks ago and the company is still trying to pinpoint the source of the contamination.
Products were both packaged for sale as individual products and repackaged by places like Piggly Wiggly, Kroger and ConAgra foods.
The FDA and CDC have developed a system to track the genetic makeup of salmonella, Listeria and E.coli.
Once a food-related illness outbreak is identified, scientists can match the DNA from contaminated food with the bacteria making people sick and potentially trace it to the originating food processing plant.
In this outbreak, of those eight who were sick, six were in California.
The two people who died were from Maryland and Washington.
Authorities say it’s unclear why there are not more illnesses from Listeria.
They believe the levels of Listeria contamination might not be high or may be uneven in the packaged vegetables.
Also, the vegetables in the recall are typically cooked before they’re eaten, which would kill the bacteria.
The CDC continues to monitor state illness reports for any sign of additional cases, Wise said.
Listeria causes an estimated 1,600 cases illnesses each year in the U.S., but just half are reported.
About 18 per cent of listeriosis patients die.