Monday, October 31, 2011


We don't get many cookie recalls because of bacterial contamination. Nor do we hear about that many incidents of Bacillus cereus. But we do have a case now in the U.S.

It's Rich Fields brand butter cookies, sold by Rite Aid. (Rite Aid has 47,000 stores in 31 states in the U.S.) The recalled cookies come in beautiful holiday tins with Christmas design, which hopefully means that if you bought them, you haven't eaten them yet. Don't. They can give you a nasty case of food poisoning, though not as dangerous as some other bacteria such as E.coli 0157 or Listeria monocytogenes. And whatever you do, don't let your children anywhere near them.

Here's the rest of the data I have about them: the tins are 12 ounce size. The UPC codes 01249596519 and 88411804619 are located directly beneath the bar code on the bottom of each tin.

Rite Aid is very busy calling its card-customers who bought them and trying to track 85,000 tins of these cookies.

To your good health,

Friday, October 28, 2011


I just blogged the ongoing recall of Turkish Pine Nuts in the U.S. by Wegman's (a large chain of grocery stores). They got them from the importer - Sunrise Commodities.

Many of the news sites are naturally saying the nuts were imported from Turkey. In fact, I was on the point of saying the same thing myself when I decided to check the importer's website -
Here's what I saw (cut and paste):

Pine Nuts
Product Category:
Imported Nuts
Origin:Chinese, Spanish

From what I have been able to find out, it seems that most pine nuts come from either the Chinese-Russian border or from Turkey. However, two other factors are important: the borders in this area can be very porous, and, even more significant, these days pine-nuts are often processed in China. Chinese processing of food tends to be cheaper and even much of the fish that is wild-caught in U.S. waters is sent to China for processing for that reason.

So where did the contaminants get in? Possibly, the nuts were grown in Turkey, but it is quite likely that the Salmonella entered during their processing in China, not in Turkey. It is well known that food processing in China is not as sanitary as we would like, and the attitude towards, and practice of food safety is not the same as in many other countries.

So - bottom line - I would bet that these nuts were probably imported from China, not Turkey (as on the importer's website). That's globalization for you.

By the way, I have also found out that several major store chains in the U.S. have stopped selling pine nuts imported from China because of the poor quality and safety concerns. Wegman's - you may want to consider this!

To your good health,



Yes, it's true: bacteria, like most living organisms, prefer to grow where's there some moisture. But some, like the well-known Salmonella, manages to survive for months in very dry situations, including in dry foods. That's why it crops up fairly often in unexpected places such as nuts and spices.
For instance, presently in the U.S. there is a recall of 5,000 pounds of imported Turkish Pine Nuts because Salmonella Enteritidis bacteria have been found in them. Sad news for us pine nut lovers. Nor is this the first time that Salmonella has turned up in pine nuts, as well as in other nuts.

The recall is being made by Wegmans Food Markets. They were sold in the Bulk Foods department of most of Wegmans 79 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland between July 1 and October 18, 2011. So far there have been at least 42 confirmed illnesses due to eating these nuts. Most of the cases have been in New York State.

Wegman's got their nuts from Sunrise Commodities of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., which imported them. One would assume they came from Turkey, but I am going to check this further as their web site only lists China and Spain as sources for their pine nuts (Chinese Turkish pine nuts? ).

Unfortunately, this is a particularly vicious strain of Salmonella . Symptoms usually occur 12-72 hours after eating a heavily contaminated food. Most people would just get the usual diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. But in the case of an unlucky few, the bacteria can end up in the bloodstream and lead to more serious and long-lasting illnesses such as arthritis, arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms) and endocarditis.

Avoid it! You may also want to avoid prepared foods that contain pine nuts for a while. Wegman's also used the nuts in some of theirs (e.g. Caprese salads), and the supplier may also have sold them to others.

To your good health,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Yesterday I blogged the organic egg recall. Now, believe it or not, there's a recall of frozen egg product. This is much more unusual, since egg product is pasteurized, which is likely to kill bacteria. But there can be slipups - even in pasteurization.

What managed to get through was our old enemy, Salmonella. American Egg Products of Blackshear, Georgia, is recalling cartons of frozen egg product, Lot #272-1, because they may be contaminated with this bacteria.

This is not a recall that the consumer needs to worry about since this egg product went in large, five pound cartons to Georgia and Florida and sold to three distributors and/or further food manufacturersfood producers. So, we don't have any way of avoiding it.

Let's save our worrying for all the other contaminated foods that are currently out there in the American food supply.

To your good health,


Unless I have missed some, we now have the third bagged spinach recall this year in the United States, due to the usual problem - bacteria which can give you food poisoning, and even be deadly. That makes two for Salmonella, and one for Listeria monocytogenes - the latest. (See posts for October 21 and April 7 for the other two Salmonella ones.)

Once again we see that "fresh and easy" is often also risky, as stressed in The Safe Food Handbook (the book, and also, in this blog). Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Inc., is voluntarily recalling fresh bagged Washed Spinach 12oz, with the Enjoy by date of OCT 16 sold under the f&e™ label.

By the way, Fresh & Easy is a British grocery chain that just recently entered Northern California's Bay Area, and has been in Southern California for some time (it prides itself on its wholesome food).

The recall was announced October 21, but the FDA didn't pass it on until today. And, as you can see by the "Enjoy by" date, it would be very unlikely that it hadn't all been eaten by now. Not unusual. But every day's delay is risky, particularly when bacteria such as L.monocytogenes is involved, and particularly for pregnant women and anyone with a weakened immune system.

And, of course, this makes another hit for Listeria monocytogenes, which seems to be winning in the food terrorist sweepstakes this summer. I will do a count one of these days when I get a chance.

To your good health,

Monday, October 24, 2011


It's rather unpleasant to think that the sandwiches sold in our stores could have come from the other end of the United States. No wonder ready-to-eat foods are so dangerous, and best avoided in general. Listeria monocytogenes bacteria are more likely to hide in these than elsewhere in our food supply.

So here we have the latest: you may have thought the Nike brand was all about shoes, but it turns out that it is also a brand name for something we eat: Nike All-American sandwiches. They are made by Landshire of St. Louis, MO, but are distributed nationwide at retail supermarkets.

And, as you might expect, that "All-American" sandwich is made with unhealthy white bread. What else it has in it, apart from Listeria-bacteria(not on the ingredient list!) I don't know - but am trying to find out. The lot number of 11 237 6 is printed in black ink. Some 1,751 cases of them are being recalled (the ones that haven't been eaten yet). And, the recall could expand.

Make your own sandwiches. It's easy. Look at it as a creative endeavour and let your imagination run wild. And, its cheaper as well as healthier.

To your good health,

UPDATE: Landshire is now having to expand the recall of the Nike Sandwiches to include the addition of the Nike Super Poor Boy Sandwich as well as increasing production dates of the Nike All-American Sandwich because of Listeria Monocytogenes.


No, Salmonella has not disappeared from our eggs yet, much as everyone is trying and hoping (see all those posts I wrote during that huge Wright Farms egg recall in August, 2010).

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are investigating Larry Schulz Organic Farm of Owatonna and the eggs it produces. It seems that the eggs were only distributed to restaurants, grocery stores, food wholesalers and foodservice companies in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan - not elsewhere.

Oh yes, the eggs are organic. I hope my very nice doctor at UCSF Medical Center is reading this (certified organic egg production keeps hens in free-range conditions: we had a related discussion last week when I saw her).

What we know so far is that the illness of at least six people (both children and adults) in Minnesota seem to be connected to eating this farm's eggs, and, that lab tests have turned up Salmonella Enteritidis in samples taken from the farm's environment with the same genetic footprint. Sounds suspicious.

And of course, as usual, and just to add to the confusion, our industrialized food supply means that they have been sold under several brand names: Lunds & Byerly’s Organic, Kowalski’s Organic, and Larry Schultz Organic Farm. The eggs are packed in bulk and varying sizes of cartons (6-egg cartons, dozen egg cartons, 18-egg cartons). If you want a full product descriptions and a list of stores where the suspect eggs were sold, go to

Well, that brings us to an important point again that I keep repeating: forget about sunny-side up eggs or other forms of undercooked eggs or foods that contain them (see The Safe Food Handbook for a long list - there is a whole chapter on Salmonella in eggs). Yes, they may taste great. But think of it this way: you'll taste them for say, 5 minutes, but if you get sick from Salmonella, you'll feel totally miserable for days.

To your good health,

Friday, October 21, 2011


All these incidents of bacteria in the U.S. food supply are wearing me out, trying to keep up. You may notice that most of them are in produce - which we tend to eat raw. That is, no cooking "kill step" for bacteria. And yes, today we have another one.
At least it's a change from Listeria. Church Brothers, of Salinas, California is recalling 560 bags of clipped spinach after one bag tested positive for Salmonella bacteria during a random USDA testing. The recalled product was processed on October 6, 2011 and shipped in 2.5 pound bags to Super King Markets in Los Angeles, California. The “best if used by” date is 10/23/11, but it's been for sale for a couple of weeks.

By the way, this is the second bagged spinach recall this year due to Salmonella - check my post for April 7. It was Fresh Express that time.

And wait...That name "Church Brothers" rang a bell with me. Ah yes, they were involved in the bagged lettuce recall(Listeria that time) just a couple of weeks ago. Church Bros. is part owner of True Leaf Farms by the way, which name may be more familiar to you in connection with that lettuce recall (see earlier posts). It seems that True Leaf Farms is their processing arm (I thought it was the other way around). And, in spite of sending food out with two different kinds of bacteria in the last few weeks, they pride themselves on their safety precautions.

Here's a quote from their website:
"Church Brothers and True Leaf Farms pride themselves with having the highest integrity when it comes to Food Safety Standards and we adhere to the Leafy Green Marketing Agreement standards."

Maybe they should double check. Obviously something is wrong.And I would bet we are going to hear more about Church Brothers' plant and their bagged greens.

To your good health,

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Those deadly Listeria monocytogenes bacteria seem to be taking over the U.S. food supply. I can't say I am really surprised, given how many food service workers carry it and this bug's survival abilities. But it is really annoying. I am seriously thinking of going on a chocolate diet.

The latest is blue cheese. Fair Oaks Dairy Products, based in Northwest Indiana, today issued a recall of all its blue cheese produced under the Fair Oaks Royal Blue Cheese label. The recall applies to any cheese purchased on or after September 25, 2011. Thank goodness, the actual quantity of the cheese is only 20 pounds (but, maybe could expand). The cheese was distributed to retailers in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

This time it is the company itself which turned up the bacteria, or rather, an independent laboratory it hired did so during testing of the cheese (often it is the FDA's laboratories which find the contaminant). But why it took so long, I don't know. This is almost a month later, and there is a good chance much of the cheese has been eaten. But overall, the company seems to have acted responsibly, immediately contacting the FDA once it got the bad news.

If you live in these areas, and ate this cheese (it's in royal blue foil) watch for any symptoms. , Remember that symptoms of Listeriosis,which are a bit like the flu, can take anywhere from 3 days to 70 days, or occasionally, even 90 days to appear. Usually it's around 12 days to 3 weeks.

Oh, and by the way, Listeria monocytogenes in cheese - particularly unpasteurized cheese, is not at all uncommon.

To your good health,


Well, it seems that a tentative cause has been found for the Listeria bacteria contamination of cantaloupes all over the U.S.. This really bad outbreak has now killed around 25 people, made at least 123 people ill, and probably affected many, who didn't become ill, but may become carriers of the bacteria.

Investigators have zeroed in on the packing shed at Jensen Farms in Ohio. The Listeria monocytogenes bacteria has been isolated in samples taken from the cantaloupe conveyor belts, a melon drying area, and a floor drain. Now the question is: how did it get there? A packing shed on a farm is like a transit area, with a whole lot going on. So there are many possibilities.

It could have been in the soil covering the cantaloupes when they came there . Or, it could have been in the washing water (it wouldn't be the first time that washing water actually made produce less safe, rather than more safe). Or, it could have been that recently purchased equipment from another farm which had previously been used to wash potatoes. Or, possibly, it could have come from workers in the sheds who were carriers (a lot of people are). Or, even from a truck, parked too close to the packing shed, which could have brought Listeria from another farm or road or field. We may never find out.

The farm didn't do too well during recent government inspection in terms of other conditions as well. Among the things that government inspectors noticed were pools of water on the floor (which could be recent, after the farm closed operations), cloths used to cover the melons, inadequate cooling of cantaloupes, and rather worn out and hard-to-clean equipment.
And guess what, this farm had passed a recent inspection by a privates safety contractor with flying colors (the packing plant scored 96 out of 100).

So what else is new. This has happened before many times (for example, with that huge peanut outbreak that originated in Georgia). Why? The procedure is for the farm or plant to hire and pay the company that inspects. So, hum ha, you might say they were a little biased towards giving a good report. These procedures have to be changed, and inspectors everywhere have to be trained better (I go on about this in the book).

Of course, the Jensen brothers have gone out of business and are battling numerous law suits. I feel sorry for them. This can happen so easily.

To your good health,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Tuna can be a delicious fish, but also a dangerous one. I just came from the fish store. Tuna was on sale, but I decided to pass on it. It just didn't look perfectly fresh.

And that's the point: it's not just mercury. It's histamine. When tuna becomes spoiled - usually as a result of poor storage or handling - it can produce high levels of histamine protein which can lead to scromboid poisoning in people who are sensitive. (It can also happen with some other fish - see post of February 5 - "Tuna Steak Recall" for more details on these fish and on symptoms).

We currently have yet another recall of tuna for this reason. This time it is frozen ground tuna. Osamu Corporation of Gardena, California has recalled up to 1,800 cases, of frozen ground tuna because the FDA found decomposition in several samples of this fish. It also found high histamine levels in samples of the product taken from one retail location. I am assuming this fish was imported, as much of U.S. fish is these days, probably from Japan, but I have not been able to confirm this.

Apparently most of this product was distributed to companies that make sushi, especially for grocery markets, one of them mainly in California, the other with franchises in nearly every state in the U.S. Oh..Oh..

Watch out. One good thing - you don't need to worry for weeks wondering if you ate bad tuna and will get sick. You'll know pretty quickly - in under two hours, when the symptoms start (again - see the Feb. 5 post). The other good news is that usually it's not deadly, although it is very frightening. And people with liver problems, beware.

If you buy tuna, always make sure it is fresh, and don't let it spoil, or let the package defrost improperly if it is frozen. And if you are in a high risk group, and live in the U.S., avoid tuna sushi for a while, just in case contaminated products are still out there.

To your good health,

Saturday, October 15, 2011


This had not been a good couple of weeks for lettuce lovers in the U.S. And that just about covers everyone except me (I prefer arugula). What is more, the lettuce safety issue is becoming downright confusing. And, I am sure we haven't seen the end of it yet.

On October 1, I blogged the finding of Listeria monocytogenes in chopped romaine lettuce, produced by True Leaf Farms of Salinas, California, which issued a recall of its suspect products. Now there is another ready-to-use lettuce recall announced by Giant Eagle Farmer's Market, which is the largest supermarket in Western Pennsylvania. Giant Eagle is recalling eight ounce packages of Shredded Iceberg Lettuce as well as a number of deli products which used lettuce from the same lot, all with a use by date of October 14,2011.

Of course, they didn't grow the lettuce themselves. It came from a Salinas, California processor called River Ranch Fresh Foods, which, by the way, prides itself on its safety. The reason is the same as in the earlier (True Leaf Farms) recall - Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in the lettuce. But it's a different kind of lettuce. This company has not issued a recall of its lettuce, although it says it is co-operating with investigators.*

Now let's get to the broader issue. It seems that the problem is centered on lettuce from the Salinas area of California, with different kinds of lettuce involved. The question is: was the lettuce contaminated on the farm, or, at the processor's? It could be either. If Listeria got in at the farm level, that means it is probably in the growing environment, and could also affect other farms nearby. If it got in during washing, shredding or cutting at River Ranch, it could mean that this company has a contamination problem, and this could also affect lettuce from other farms that it is processing with the same contaminated equipment.

Either way, it is a bad situation. Listeria monocytogenes bacteria which can be deadly, especially to vulnerable people (such as pregnant women, newborns, those with weakened immune systems). And, remember that it can take as long as two months, and occasionally, even longer, for symptoms to appear.

So what are we to do? On my part, I have decided to avoid all California-grown leafy greens for a while until we find out more about where the contamination occured. And that applies to both ready-to-eat and whole (most would come from the Salinas area). I'll give up arugula too for good measure. Listeriosis is not something I want.

To your good health,

UPDATE: River Ranch has finally had to issue a recall of its Farmers Market and Hy-Vee brand iceberg, romaine and blended lettuce products. These salad products were distributed in Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and sold in retail supermarkets.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Our milk has been a lot safer from dangerous bacteria since we started to pasteurize it. Tests have shown that 2-25% of raw milk carries bugs like Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, E.coli, Salmonella, Yersinia, Brucella, Mycobacterium bovis and Coxiella burnetti.

Some studies argue that these bacteria have become even more numerous in recent years as many dairy farmers in countries such as the U.S. give their cattle hormones to increase their milk production. This practice tends to result in more mastitis (inflammation of the udders). This is not just unpleasant for the poor cow, but results in more bacteria in their milk.

Thank goodness we have pasteurization. Sorry, for these reasons, I am not a fan of raw dairy, although I have known several people who are. (I also knew one person who died from eating raw dairy - cheese in her case). Pasteurization is a good aspect of our modern food supply. It is relatively easy to do, with heat treatment using one of several standarized methods (e.g. holding the milk at a temperature of 162 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds).

So how could things possibly go wrong? Apparently they can. Farmers All Natural Creamery in Wellman, Iowa, in the United States, has recalled nearly 1,000 gallons of whole milk because tests suggest that it hadn't been properly pasteurized.

The milk was sold to four distributors — UNFI in Aurora, Colo. and Lancaster, Texas, Calma Optimal in Franklin Park, Ill. and Natural Brands in Wood Dale, Ill. Who knows where it went from there.

To your good health,


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Let's hope you haven't been eating undercooked hamburgers or chili or meat tacos at a California or Nevada restaurant lately. The restaurant just may have received some E. coli O157:H7-contaminated ground beef products from Commercial Meat Company of Los Angeles, California.

The USDA/FSIS announced today that their testing had turned up this dangerous bacteria in the eat. Nearly 400,000 of ground beef products are being recalled by the company. They were supposed to hold the beef until the test results came in, and now they are paying the price for rushing. Just about all of it went in bulk cases to California and Nevada restaurants - as far as we know, that is.

By the way, the recalled burger meat, taco filling and chili products subject were produced between Sept. 7, 2011 and Oct. 6, 2011, which means..yes, that probably most of it has already been eaten. Notifications are being sent out anyway.

If the meat was cooked to 160° F that should have killed any of the harmful bacteria. But I really wonder how many restaurants use food thermometers to measure the internal temperature of your burger or taco filling.

Eating home is safer.

To your good health,


I am always surprised by the number of people who believe that if a food item is "organic" it will not carry any bad bacteria. Yes, organic fruits or vegetables are likely to have lower levels of pesticides. But that does not protect them from those dangerous bacteria that we hear so much about these days - ones such as E.coli 0157, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and others. In fact, much of the research done suggests that they are even more likely to be contaminated than are conventionally grown foods.

The Rocky Ford cantaloupes that are causing the current outbreak of Listeriosis (from Listeria monocytogenes bacteria) were "pesticide free." (They have now caused at least 22 deaths and over 100 illnesses). The recently recalled grape tomatoes were organic.

Over the past few years we have had recalls of a huge range of organic foods because they were contaminated - including organic alfalfa sprouts, many organic fruits and vegetables, organic beef, organic turkey, organic peanut butter, organic eggs, organic cheese and even of organic chocolate and tea. (What have I missed?)

In fact, sad though it be, several recent studies, including one published this past May in the Journal of Food Protection, have concluded that organic food is more likely to have fecal contamination which is where these bacteria usually come from. The higher incidences of fecal contamination in organic foods is linked to the heavy reliance of composted animal manure for fertilizer. The book discusses this issue in more detail.

To your good health,

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Just announced by the FDA - a Salmonella contamination of soy flour in the U.S. Thumb Oilseed Producer’s Cooperative in Mich., is recalling 2623, 40-lb. bags and 360, 1,500-lb. totes of soybean flour; in addition to 924 .08-ton loads of bulk soy meal. That is an awful lot of flour. It was sent to wholesalers, who would have sent it on to food producer and possibly retail clients in smaller quantities.

I bet this recall is really going to expand with many of these food companies that used this flour having to recall whatever they made with it. That's another downside risk resulting from the interconnectedness of our industrialized food supply. And it is going to affect both human and animal food, since both commonly use soy flour as an ingredient.

An expansion always happens when a commonly used food ingredient is found to be contaminated. It happened with peanut products and again with dry milk in mid 2009 - both with Salmonella bacteria the cause (which survives very well in dry conditions). It will happen with soy flour this time. And it will not only have health costs, but also financial ones, with some small food producers going under because of lost production and costs of the recall. Of course, if the food production process cooks the food to a high enough temperature it should kill the bacteria.

Phew..This has been a really bad month in the U.S. in many ways, including in terms of food risks. I have enough trouble keeping up with all the ups and downs in the stock market, let alone the ones in our food. I am wondering whether the attempts at cost-cutting by some producers and food companies has resulted in dangerous shortcuts and slipups. And I am not even mentioning all those "foreign matter" recalls (like tiny bits of metal in Kraft Velveeta shells) and numerous allergens.

To your good health,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


This ongoing outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in whole cantaloupes has Americans scared. Food poisoning is one thing, but once people start dying it's another. There have now been at least 100 confirmed illnesses and 18 deaths. Nor is this the end, because of the long lead time before symptoms develop. The detailed personal stories on line in some of the lawyers' blogs are enough to make one give up eating cantaloupes for life.

But many of us really like cantaloupes. We don't want to stop eating them. So how can we eat them more safely? Cooking cantaloupes is out, so we have to think of other ways to avoid - not kill - most of any existing bacteria. Here are some ideas.

• Eat whole cantaloupe rather than cut-up ready-to-eat packaged ones. Yes, I know this outbreak started in whole cantaloupes, but usually bacteria, and especially Listeria monocytogenes, are more likely to turn up in the sliced-up "convenience" type, coming from workers who are carriers or contaminated equipment or even packaging that is used.
• Always wash thoroughly your whole cantaloupe before cutting it, using cold running water. True, some have already been washed and look perfectly clean, but may not be, and others are clearly soiled. Use a soft brush if the cantaloupe has a rough skin, to get into all the crevices. Never use hot and then cold water, because this can draw any bacteria on the skin inside the cantaloupe.
• Wash your hands first and then peel the whole cantaloupe with a clean knife and then rinse it again under running cold water. This is a little tricky to do as it's pretty slippery. In that case, you may want to cut the cantaloupe in half, running it briefly under cold water where cut and then peel it. Rinse the now peeled item, the knife and your hads quickly again, before slicing up the cantaloupe.
• If a cantaloupe has a soft bruised area, cut off this part, with at least an inch margin (depending how bad the bruising is). Use an even wider margin if part of it is moldy.
• For the time being, avoid the Jensen Farm pesticide-free Rocky Ford ones if you happen to come across any, although not every cantaloupe will be heavily contaminated. As far as we know right now, the problem is limited to this farm's produce, and to any processors that used them for salads or convenience products. The cause of the contamination has not yet been identified, and if it is the irrigation water, contaminated soil or processing water, it will take a while to resolve. If that cantaloupe in your frig has no label, discard it anyway, just to be safe.

To your good health,

Saturday, October 1, 2011


And here's yet another beef product recall in the U.S. You may remember that we had one a week ago, that originated in Texas (see earlier post). This one started in beautiful California. They both involve E.coli 0157:H7 -the most common of the dangerous E.coli bacteria.

Since it is late, this is the third recall post of today, and my dog is waiting for a walk, let me get to the facts. Manning Beef, LLC, a Pico Rivera, Calif. establishment, has had to recall about 80,000 pounds of beef products because testing turned up too many E. coli O157:H7.

The recalled products include a variety of beef primal and subprimal cuts (such as top round and tri tip) and manufacturing trimmings. These products do not go directly to our store shelves. They are are used for further processing by retailers and food service establishents, for example, for hamburger meat. Apparently they were shipped to Arizona, California and Nebraska.

When they have it, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS) is going to post the list of retailers selling the potentially-contaminated final beef products on their website at If you are worried - check it out.

In the meantime, cook your beef well!

To your good health,


It was bound to happen. Greencore USA, Inc., of Cincinnati, Ohio, is recalling approximately 57 pounds of salad products containing meat and poultry. And it's not because this meat or poultry was contaminated. It's because the salads also contain those beautiful grape tomatoes that have recently been recalled because of Salmonella (see earlier post - 9/29).

This is like the presently ongoing whole cantaloupe recall, like the May grape tomato recall, and so many others. First the whole fresh produce is recalled, and then there are recalls of ready-to-eat products that have included them.

Let's see what more comes up. In the meantime, you would be wise to pick those grape tomatoes out of your salad just in case they're next on the list.

To your good health,


I feel as though I am repeating myself. Last night I blogged the expanding cantaloupe recall. Now I am blogging the expanding bagged, chopped, ready-to-eat Romaine lettuce one. Both involve the potentially-deadly Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

But I will say that at least the recall expansion in the lettuce case didn't come weeks after the first alert and recall - only a day. Much better. Also, it came at the FDA's urging - not because of bad record keeping.

Down to the facts. Here is what is happening. On September 29, True Leaf Farms issued a recall for 90 cartons of chopped romaine because Listeria monocytogenes turned up during testing of it. The recalled product was shipped between September 12 and 13, with a use-by date of September 29 - the date of the recall. Notice again how FDA testing results come far too late, especially for fresh produce, which tends to be eaten quickly. But I will add, that the company acted as soon as it got the results of the FDA testing.

The lettuce went to an institutional food service distributor (Church Brothers) in Oregon who further distributed it to at least two additional states, Washington and Idaho.

The next day's update expanded the recall to cover 2498 cartons of lettuce, to include additional product shipped to wholesale food service distributors in 19 more states - and to Alberta, Canada. The U.S. states include Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Vermont.

Three notes:
- Listeria monocytogenes turns up quite often in lettuce and leafy greens, especially ready-to-eat kind, and the FDA is trying to find out why. So this is a fairly typical recall.
- This recall has nothing to do with the ongoing cantaloupe one.
- The recall notice says that no illnesses have been connected to it - yet. (See my earlier post on this issue).

To your good health,