Sunday, March 16, 2014


Many people believe that freezing will kill any bacteria or viruses in food such as fruit or vegetables. Unfortunately, that is not true. Some nasty bugs that cause food poisoning survive freezing quite well.

The huge membership-only warehouse club, Costco, learned that lesson again last week. One of its suppliers - Oregon Freeze Dry, Inc. of Albany, Oregon had to recall almost 60,000 cases of Kirkland Signature Real Sliced Fruit, produced exclusively for Costco Wholesale Stores, after testing showed Salmonella bacteria could be present. The recalled product consists of 20 pouches of freeze-dried, supposedly healthy snacks in a pretty red and white box.

And of course this is not the only U.S. recall of frozen fruit or vegetables we have had over the years, that was caused by a bacterium – usually one of the Salmonella or Listeria monocytogenes. Even such unexpected frozen produce as chili peppers have had to be recalled.

Viruses can also survive freezing. In mid 2013, there was a recall of Scenic Fruit Company’s Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels and of Townsend Farms’ Frozen Organic Antioxidant Blend. Both contained pomegranate seeds imported from Turkey that were suspected of carrying a Hepatitis A virus. There was a resulting outbreak of hepatitis in seven U.S. states. Poor Costco also sold this Townsend Farms’ frozen product. The mix contained strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries as well as the pomegranate seeds. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

This is not to say you should stop eating frozen fruit or vegetables. The chances of contamination are actually pretty slim - less than in fresh produce, and if you cook them thoroughly, you will be fine.

To your good health,


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