One of the best ways to buy fruits and vegetables when they’re out of season is to hit the frozen food aisle at your local market. Unfortunately, if you buy your produce in that form, then this massive frozen vegetable recall probably affects you.
Yet again, a listeria outbreak in a food processing plant has caused a recall of frozen food, much of it organic. (Has anyone else noticed that these seem to beoccurring a lot more frequently of late?)
What is listeria?
Listeria is a bacterium that causes an infection called listeriosis. It is most commonly contracted when a person eats food that has been contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Most at risk for illness are the elderly, pregnant women, babies, and those with a compromised immune system.
A healthy person who contracts listeria will be sick for a few days with symptoms like:
- high fever
- severe headache
- abdominal pain
However in pregnant women, a listeria infection can result in stillbirth or miscarriage, and the baby can be born with the infection.
More serious cases can escalate to bacteremia and meningitis, sometimes resulting in death. Approximately 300 people per year die from a listeria infection.
Why does this keep happening?
If you’ve been paying attention lately, it seems like listeria has been in the news more often than ever before, and most of it is coming from “ready-to-eat” foods such as bagged lettuce and frozen food.
An article in Food Poison Journal explains why:
The prevalence of Listeria in ready-to-eat meats has not proven difficult to explain. [26, 29] As one expert in another much-cited article has noted:
The centralized production of prepared ready-to-eat food products…increases the risk of higher levels of contamination, since it requires that foods be stored for long periods at refrigerated temperatures that favour the growth of Listeria. During the preparation, transportation and storage of prepared foods, the organism can multiply to reach a threshold needed to cause infection.
It would be great if we could test products ourselves, but unfortunately, the price of a listeria test prevents that for basically everyone.
These fruits and vegetables have been recalled
In what seems to be a recurring nightmare for the packaged food industry, an absolutely massive recall has been announced for frozen fruits and vegetables. It seems that most of our fruits and vegetables are coming from one company: CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington. Where it can get confusing is that the company simply private labels the same food for many different companies, who then distribute it under their own banners.
This recall goes back to foods that were packaged as of May 1, 2014 to the present and includes:…