Potentially Fatal Bacteria Found on Potatoes, Lemons, Limes and Oranges

December

10

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Another food recall has occurred. These appear to be becoming more prevalent, leading consumers to wonder if there are any truly safe foods or grocery stores. Due to a potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination, the FDA has issued a mass recall of potatoes, lemons, limes, Valencia oranges, and even organic limes.

A routine inspection threw up a red flag

Freshouse II in Salisbury, North Carolina, discovered Listeria on some of their packing equipment during a routine internal inspection. According to company representatives,

“We have ceased production and distribution of the product that was packed on the in question equipment, and we are taking corrective actions as well as continuously evaluating our cleaning and sanitation regimes.”

Recalled products have been delivered to retail distribution centers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, as well as wholesalers in North Carolina and Maryland.

What is Listeria?

Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found in soil, water, dust, animal feces, and other environments. The bacteria thrives in colder temperatures and is not killed by freezing. Because it cannot be detected by smell or sight, Listeria is difficult to detect before eating. Although Listeria is most commonly found in dairy products, it has also been found in deli meat, hummus, soft cheese, and cantaloupe, to name a few.

Listeria can cause severe illness and even death in certain groups of people. According to the CDC, anyone with a weakened immune system may be at a significantly higher risk of life-threatening health issues associated with a listeria infection. Pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV, cancer, or diabetes, are particularly vulnerable.

Symptoms such as severe headache, abdominal pain, achy muscles, nausea, and diarrhea may occur in otherwise healthy people. These symptoms may appear a few days after eating affected foods, or they may take several months to appear.

The infection has the potential to spread to the nervous system, where it can be fatal. This condition is known as listeriosis, and it kills 20% of those who contract it. Listeriosis symptoms include the following.

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Stiff neck
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of balance

Listeria can spread throughout your home.

According to the FDA, listeria can spread once it reaches your kitchen counters and refrigerator shelves. According to the FDA, “contaminated food can bring Listeria into the home.” Listeria germs, unlike most bacteria, can grow and spread in the refrigerator.”

According to data compiled by the New York Times, approximately 1,600 cases of Listeria appear in the United States each year, with approximately 260 people dying as a result of the infection.

What products have recently been recalled due to the possibility of Listeria contamination?

Fortunately, no illnesses as a result of potentially contaminated items have been reported. The products that have been voluntarily recalled are listed below. Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you or someone you know has consumed any of the products listed below and is suffering from a fever, headache, or abdominal pain.

  • Freshouse Limes sold in 2lb Mesh Bags, UPC #33383 and 14683; Trace # 174618, 174570, 174571, 174572
  • Nature’s Promise Organic Limes sold in 1lb Mesh Bags, UPC #88267 and 53813; Trace # 174375
  • Fresh From the Start Red B Potatoes sold in 3lb Mesh Bags, UPC #33383 and 51003; Trace # 174575, 174403, 174595
  • Fresh From the Start Lemons sold in 2lb Mesh Bags, UPC #33383 and 14020; Trace # 174551, 174552
  • Wegmans Lemons sold in 2lb Mesh Bags, UPC #77890, 15917
  • Wegmans Valencia Oranges sold in 4lb Mesh Bags, UPC # 77890, 52363
  • Wholesale Bulk Lemons sold in 40lb Mesh Bags, Shippers Reference Numbers 1187005, 1187128, 1187103, 1187112
  • Wholesale Bulk Limes sold in 40lb Mesh Bags, Shippers Reference Numbers 1187112, 1187099, 1187128, 1186832
  • Wholesale Bulk Red Potatoes sold in 50lb Mesh Bags, Shippers Reference Numbers 1187098, 320873, 320992, 2182424
  • Wholesale Bulk Valencia Oranges sold in 40lb Mesh Bags, Shippers Reference Numbers 1187099, 1187015, 1187112

Reduce listeria contamination in your kitchen and home by implementing the following measures.

  • Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
  • Use plastic wrap or containers to properly wrap and cover foods.
  • Throw away any leftovers after three days.
  • Clean out your fridge. The FDA recommends using disposable paper towels rather than cloth towels, which can spread germs to other areas of your kitchen.
  • When you’re finished preparing food, clean your countertops, cutting boards, and utensils with hot, soapy water.
  • Cook meat, poultry, and egg dishes until the center temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
  • Under running water, scrub raw vegetables with a brush.
  • Before you begin cooking, always wash your hands with warm, soapy water. Wash your hands immediately after handling raw meat or poultry.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods.
  • Use deli and lunch meat within 3-5 days of opening.
  • Keep up to date on the latest recalls and outbreaks of foodborne illness by visiting the CDC and FDA websites on a regular basis.
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