Listeria again: Lilydale Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast recalled in Canada

Lilydale Inc. is recalling Lilydale brand Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

listeria.lilydale.chickenThis recall was triggered by the company. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Blue Bell outbreak: Faith-based food safety doesn’t get rid of Listeria

An outbreak of listeria that contributed to the deaths of three people has been traced to a second production facility operated by Blue Bell Ice Cream.

listeria4Blue Bell spokesman Gene Grabowski said Tuesday that a contaminated 3-ounce cup of ice cream was traced to a plant in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Ten products recalled earlier this month by the company were traced to a production line at a plant in Brenham, Texas, where the company is based.

The recall began when five patients at Via Christi St. Francis hospital in Wichita, Kansas, became ill with listeria while hospitalized. Officials determined at least four drank milkshakes that contained Blue Bell ice cream. Three of the patients later died.

The contaminated 3-ounce cup was found at the hospital.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that all five people were hospitalized at the same hospital for unrelated problems before developing invasive listeriosis—a finding that strongly suggests their infections were acquired in the hospital.

Three deaths were reported among these five patients.

Of the four ill people for whom information is available on the foods eaten in the month before Listeria infection, all four consumed milkshakes made with a single-serving Blue Bell brand ice cream product called “Scoops” while they were in the hospital.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) laboratory isolated Listeria monocytogenes from a previously unopened, single-serving Blue Bell brand 3 oz. institutional/food service chocolate ice cream cup obtained in March 2015 from the hospital associated with this outbreak.

On March 23, 2015, Blue Bell Ice Cream of Brenham, Texas, announced a recall of 3 oz. institutional/food service ice cream cups (with tab lids) of the following flavors: chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.

CDC recommends that consumers do not eat recalled products and that institutions and retailers do not sell or serve them.

blue-bell-ice-cream-cups-450pxInvestigation into whether other products were produced on the same line as the 3 oz. institutional/food service ice cream cups is ongoing, and new information will be provided as it becomes available.

Listeria monocytogenes was previously isolated from the following Blue Bell brand ice cream products collected from Blue Bell Creameries facilities in Texas, South Carolina, or both in 2015: ice cream Scoops, Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwiches, and Great Divide Bars.

Whole genome sequences of Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated from these ice cream products were highly related to sequences of Listeria strains isolated from four patients in this outbreak.

Blue Bell Creameries reported that these products were removed from the market in March 2015. However, contaminated ice cream products may still be in the freezers of consumers, institutions, and retailers.

The long and winding road of frozen spinach in organic, industrially-produced food

It started on Sunday, when Amy’s Kitchen, of Petaluma, Calif., issued a voluntary recall of nearly 74,000 cases of products that may include frozen spinach potentially tainted with Listeria, such as include frozen vegetable lasagna, brown rice and vegetable bowls, and stuffed pasta shell bowls. The products were distributed nationwide in the U.S. and Canada.

spongebob.oil.colbert.may3.10Next up was Wegman’s Food Markets, an East Coast grocery chain, that on Monday issued a voluntary recall for about 12,500 packages of organic frozen spinach and said the spinach was supplied by Twin City Foods, of Stanwood, Washington.

A person who answered the phone at Twin City Foods on Monday told JoNel Aleccia of The Seattle Times it wasn’t clear that the company had supplied frozen spinach to Amy’s Kitchen. She said Twin Cities could not say what volume of product might have been contaminated with listeria and that owners were not prepared to make a statement. She declined further comment.

On Tuesday, Twin City Foods announced a recall of a bunch of products containing frozen spinach, that was used in a whole bunch of frozen products. Hence the rolling recalls.

Noteworthy: “The Recalled Product was supplied to Twin City Foods by Coastal Green Vegetable Company LLC of Oxnard, CA which initiated a recall of the bulk spinach on March 20, 2015 due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Twin City Foods immediately notified all affected customers and initiated recalls of the retail packages on March 20, 2015.”

Cadia-frozen-spinach-labelCoastal Green spokesman Paul Fanelli said his company is cooperating with the Food and Drug Administration in the voluntary recall. Coastal Green has contacted “all the companies” who might have received the suspect spinach, he said. He declined to release the number of affected businesses.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

What is known about Coastal Green? Not much.

But their website says it got a superior rating by AIB (American Institute of Baking).


That’s a red flag.

Where was the spinach grown? Probably California. Where’s the Leafy Greens Marketing Association on this one?

Probably under the leafy greens cone of silence.

Did the Listeria contamination happen in the plant or in the field?

Who knows.

No one is confirmed sick – yet – so people will soon go on with their business and LGMA will continue to blow itself instead of taking on more substantive issues.

Market microbial food safety, not adjectives.



Oh fishy-fishy, you’re so delicious, but a food safety challenge

Seafood forms a part of a healthy diet. However, seafood can be contaminated with foodborne pathogens, resulting in disease outbreaks. Because people consume large amounts of seafood, such disease outbreaks are increasing worldwide. Seafood contamination is largely due to the naturally occurring phenomenon of biofilm formation.

fish.headsThe common seafood bacterial pathogens that form biofilms are Vibrio spp., Aeromonas hydrophila, Salmonella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes. As these organisms pose a global health threat, recent research has focused on elucidating methods to eliminate these biofilm-forming bacteria from seafood, thereby improving food hygiene. Therefore, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of biofilm formation, the factors that regulate biofilm development and the role of quorum sensing and biofilm formation in the virulence of foodborne pathogens.

Currently, several novel methods have been successfully developed for controlling biofilms present in seafood. In this review, we also discuss the epidemiology of seafood-related diseases and the novel methods that could be used for future control of biofilm formation in seafood.

Microbial biofilms in seafood: A food-hygiene challenge

Food Microbiology, Volume 49, August 2015, Pages 41–55

Md. Furkanur Rahaman Mizan, Iqbal Kabir Jahid, Sang-Do Ha


Listeria in spinach prompts recalls

Listeria in organic spinach has prompted at least two companies to recall frozen meals.

listeria.amy's.kitchenAmy’s Kitchen, Inc. is voluntarily recalling approximately 73,897 cases of select code dates and manufacturing codes of products.

Gluten-free, dairy-free, GMO-free in Amy’s kitchen, but maybe Listeria.

And Wegmans Organic Food You Feel Good About Just Picked Spinach (frozen), 12oz after Twin City Foods, Inc (Wegmans’ supplier) said the spinach may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Feel-good spinach, now with Listeria.

Organic spinach dip recalled for Listeria in Calif.Organic spinach dip recalled for Listeria in Calif.

La Terra Fina is issuing a voluntary recall of its Organic Spinach Dip due to a potential health risk from Listeria exposure. The recall of product available in Bay Area Costco stores is a precaution. This is the only product that has been impacted and there have been no reports of illness.LTF157_Organic Spinach DIP 24OZ_V5

Product Name: La Terra Fina Organic Thick &

Creamy Spinach Dip & Spread,

24-ounce tub

UPC Code: 640410513730

Best-By Date: 3/24/2015, 4/01/2015, 4/14/2015, 4/20/2015

Cone of silence: Listeria and stone fruit

Because this is, as CDC says, “the first reported link between human listeriosis and stone fruit” why wasn’t this public earlier (except for occasional news reports).

Dierbergs-MarketsThere is a creepy, crawly cone of silence descending on the public reporting of foodborne illness, and it is getting worse, despite public health assertations that going public early is better than later, and that taxpayers are entitled to information about their health.

So when does the U.S. Centers for Disease Control decide to go public? It’s a mystery.

On July 19, 2014, a packing company in California (company A) voluntarily recalled certain lots of stone fruits, including whole peaches, nectarines, plums, and pluots, because of concern about contamination with Listeria monocytogenes based on internal company testing (1). On July 31, the recall was expanded to cover all fruit packed at their facility during June 1–July 17 (2).

After the initial recall, clinicians, state and local health departments, CDC, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received many inquiries about listeriosis from concerned consumers, many of whom had received automated telephone calls informing them that they had purchased recalled fruit. During July 19–31, the CDC Listeria website received >500,000 page views, more than seven times the views received during the previous 52 weeks. However, no molecular information from L. monocytogenes isolates was available to assess whether human illnesses might be linked to these products.

In early August 2014, a two-enzyme pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern shared by three L. monocytogenes isolates from stone fruit associated with the recall was uploaded to PulseNet, the national molecular subtyping network for foodborne disease surveillance. Four human isolates with isolation dates during the period May 8–July 8, 2014 (Illinois, Massachusetts, and South Carolina) and August 28 (Minnesota) were identified that had PFGE patterns indistinguishable from isolates from company A stone fruit. Samples of stone fruits from company A collected after the recall yielded an additional 31 L. monocytogenes isolates, 22 of which were indistinguishable from the initial isolates by PFGE; three other PFGE patterns were identified that did not match any isolates from clinical specimens collected during May 1–August 31. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis by whole-genome multilocus sequence typing showed that isolates from the Massachusetts and Minnesota patients were highly related (<10 allele differences and <10 high-quality single nucleotide polymorphism differences) to the isolates from recalled stone fruits, whereas the Illinois and South Carolina isolates were not.

spongebob.oil.colbert.may3.10A review of the standardized Listeria Initiative exposure questionnaire (3) for the Massachusetts patient showed that organic nectarine consumption was recorded, although the form does not specifically ask about stone fruit consumption. A subsequent interview using a questionnaire with questions about stone fruits indicated that the patient consumed nectarines and peaches purchased from stores that sold company A stone fruit.

Traceback using receipts and shopper card data indicated the patient’s family purchased recalled fruit. An interview with a family member of the Minnesota patient revealed that the patient consumed peaches from a store that received company A stone fruit; however, dates from receipts indicated that the peaches were purchased after the recalled fruit was reported to have been removed from the shelves. After removal of recalled fruit, the store received company A peaches that were not part of the recall as well as peaches from another California supplier. The South Carolina patient reportedly did not eat stone fruit before becoming ill. Family of the Illinois patient could not be reached for interview.

Strong evidence linked the Massachusetts case to recalled stone fruit, including food exposure interviews, receipt and shopper card data, and WGS results showing very high genetic relatedness between the patient’s isolate and isolates from nectarines. Consumption data and WGS results suggest that stone fruit was also the likely source of L. monocytogenes infection in the Minnesota case; however, the later dates of illness onset and fruit purchase suggest that the patient consumed stone fruit that was not included in the recall.

This is the first reported link between human listeriosis and stone fruit. WGS results provided a basis for focusing resources for extended case interviews and follow-up. Specifically, among cases that matched the recalled stone fruit by PFGE, WGS allowed differentiation between sporadic cases and cases associated with stone fruit consumption.

Although exposure to this recalled product was likely widespread, disease was very rare. Therefore, this recall and associated illness does not provide sufficient evidence to recommend that persons at higher risk for listeriosis (e.g., pregnant women, persons aged ≥65 years, and immunocompromised persons) avoid fresh stone fruits. However, it does support the need to understand risks associated with contaminated, ready-to-eat fresh fruit so that prevention strategies can be strengthened.

3 dead, 2 sick: Blue Bell Listeria victim’s wife speaks out

68-year-old Richard Porter faced several health issues during the last year of his life. He had cancer and gastrointestinal bleeding that hospitalized him at Via Christi Saint Francis in Wichita, Kansas.

blue.bell.scoopsPorter’s widow, Lois, says he was very sick and then things got even worse.

“He really should have been getting better. Sure enough they did a blood culture and that’s when we found out he had listeria.”

One of Porter’s doctors, Doctor Tom Moore, says while the bacteria did not play a part in porter’s ultimate death, it did make him a lot sicker.

Dr. Moore said, “The listeria was not in any way related to the condition in which he was presented. It was a complete surprise and one which could not be explained. “

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment was soon calling Porter’s wife to investigate. Dr. Moore said at that point it was an isolated case, but would turn into the first of the outbreak.

listeria.porter-PNG“They just asked questions about where I bought food, where he had eaten, where I had bought my groceries,” Lois Porter said.

Now, more than six months since his death, KDHE found the link, contaminated Blue Bell ice cream served at the hospital.

Lois Porter tells Eyewitness News she doesn’t hold any resentment against the ice cream company or the hospital. But she does say she’s extra careful about what she eats and is more concerned about contamination when it comes to food.

3 dead, 2 sick in Kansas from Listeria in ice cream made in Texas

Three people are dead and two sick, all from the same hospital in Kansas and linked to Blue Bell Scoops milkshakes and the company publishes this on its website: “For the first time in 108 years, Blue Bell announces a recall” (right, exactly as shown).

blue.bell.108Way to go with the empathy.

Several government agencies have announced the outbreak, saying patients became ill with listeriosis after hospitalizations for unrelated causes at the same hospital. They became ill between January 2014 and January 2015 after a majority were known to have consumed Blue Bell Creameries ice cream at the hospital.

The outbreak was recently discovered after two patients were identified with the same strain of listeriosis. Further investigation identified three other patients with listeriosis who had been hospitalized for unrelated causes before the onset of listeriosis.

blue.bell.creameriesOf the four ill people for whom information is available on the foods eaten in the month before Listeria infection, all four consumed milkshakes made with a single-serving Blue Bell brand ice cream product called “Scoops” while they were in the hospital.

The five patients who were treated in a single hospital in Kansas were infected with one of four rare strains of Listeria monocytogenes. Three of these strains, which are highly similar, have also been found in products manufactured at the Blue Bell Creameries production facility in Brenham, Texas.

FDA was notified that these three strains and four other rare strains of Listeria monocytogenes were found in samples of Blue Bell Creameries single serving Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwich and the Great Divide Bar ice cream products collected by the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control during routine product sampling at a South Carolina distribution center, on February 12, 2015. These products are manufactured at Blue Bell Creameries’ Brenham facility.

blue.bellThe Texas Department of State Health Services, subsequently, collected product samples from the Blue Bell Creameries Brenham facility. These samples yielded Listeria monocytogenes from the same products tested by South Carolina and a third single-serving ice cream product, Scoops, which is also made on the same production line.

The Blue Bell brand ice cream products with tests showing Listeria monocytogenes were ice cream Scoops, Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwiches, and Great Divide Bars.

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers about the potential contamination in Blue Bell Creameries’ products. Kansas health officials are warning consumers who have purchased the following Blue Bell Creameries novelty items and have not consumed the items to discard them:

Chocolate Chip Country Cookie

Great Divide Bar

Sour Pop Green Apple Bar

Cotton Candy Bar


Vanilla Stick Slices

Almond Bar

What is safe to eat when pregnant?

Daughter 2-of-5, who is due shortly, asked food safety dad, I know to avoid deli meats, but is it OK to eat pepperettes?

jaucelynn.pregnantI asked Chapman (it’s his job, he’s in extension).

“Most are shelf stable based on pH and Aw – they have been fermented and dried (not cooked). Sometimes they are smoked. Sometimes not.

“I’d cook it because you’d have to know that the pH and Aw was correct and what the steps were to validate the smoking (if that was used).

They are probably fine, but hard to know without the specifics.”

Good advice.

In related news, preclinical research demonstrates for the first time that refocusing an expectant mother’s immune cells to prevent them from attacking the fetus may be a therapeutic strategy for preventing pregnancy complications like stillbirth or prematurity.

Scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center report their findings March 9 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. They suggest restricting the pregnant mother’s immune cells from the placenta (the maternal-fetal interface) can protect against pregnancy complications during maternal infection and complications not triggered by prenatal infection.

The study sheds new light on an entrenched public health challenge – premature birth and the related pregnancy complications of preeclampsia, spontaneous abortion and stillbirth. One of every 9 infants in the United States is born premature, or before 37 weeks of pregnancy, according to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control. There remains no effective therapy for these pregnancy complications, and babies born too early are highly vulnerable to death or long-term developmental abnormalities.