Tuesday, March 1, 2011
BROCCOLI CAUSES RECALL OF READY-T0-EAT FOODS I
Hazardous broccoli! Yes. This time it seems that healthy vegetable is the culprit. But don't blame the poor vegetable. My guess is that the source of the problem was a sick worker who handled the broccoli or badly sanitized equipment. Ready-to-eat (RTE) food is always more risky than fresh - as I have stressed in the book, and in several blogs, particularly in terms of Listeriosis risk.
Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which causes Listeriosis, is becoming a major public health threat in many countries, including in the US and Canada. That's why I am blogging this recall - to make the point yet again: RTE foods tend to be more risky and should be avoided by people who are particularly vulnerable to Listeriosis. If you fall into one of the following groups - don't eat them: pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, those with HIV/AIDS, elderly. Young children are also at more likely to become seriously ill.
This bacteria has a high fatality rate (around 25%). Some people won't even know they have been exposed to it. Some will have mild symptoms. Others will die. In the case of pregnant women, it is the unborn child that is at risk.
Back to the latest Listeria - linked outbreak and food recall: Taylor Farms Pacific, of Tracy, California, has just recalled 64,000 pounds of various RTE food products sold at supermarket chains of Safeway, Raley's, Vons, Pak N'Save, Pavilions in the US states of California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington because of suspected Listeria contamination. The recalled products include a range of healthy-sounding snack trays, pork and chicken dinners with broccoli and apparently deli salads. For a full list of recalled products, go to: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_016_2011_Release/index.asp.
The USDA points out that some of the salad mixes were only available for sale through deli counters (and, I would assume, did not carry a Taylor Farms label). They are no longer for sale but check your frig in case you still have some deli salad with broccoli, red onion, bacon bits, raisins, sunflower seeds and dressing ingredients. If so, return it to the store or throw it out. Don't eat it!