The newest case involves a Listeria outbreak in sunflower seeds. From April 2016 to June 2016 hundreds of companies have had to recall their products due to a contamination of Listeria at a processing plant that supplies sunflower seeds. This recall affected granola bars, cereals, trail mix, salad toppers, protein bars, meal replacement bars and even cat food. Some of the big companies include Clif ©, General Mills ©, Quaker © and Nature’s Valley ©. To date, no illnesses have been reported (CDC 2016). Also in very recent news is the outbreak of L. monocytogenes in frozen fruits and vegetables. CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco Washington issued a mass recall of 11 frozen vegetables and then expanded that recall to include its line of frozen fruits and also to include frozen potato and onion products. It has been reported so far that eight people have contracted Listeriosis from the frozen vegetables. Two of those individuals have died, but their cause of death was not listed as Listeriosis. The CDC states that this is an ongoing investigation (CDC 2016). A closed investigation from earlier in the year had a higher rate of illness. Bag salad mixes produced by Dole Foods in Ohio were found to be positive for L. monocytogenes . Residents of both the US and Canada were affected. In the US nineteen people were hospitalized with Listeriosis from nine different states. One individual died. One was reported to be pregnant, but the status of the fetus was not reported. Infections in Canada are not included in the reports that I was able to locate. The CDC declared this investigation over as of March 31, 2016, about nine months after it started (CDC 2016). One of the most devastating outbreaks is that from Karoun Dairies. The outbreak of L. monocytogenes from Karoun Dairies affected soft cheeses. Thirty people were report sick. Of those 30, 28 were hospitalized and interviewed. Twenty-one of those 28 had consumed the soft cheese made from
5 SPOTLIGHT ON LISTERIA milk produced by Karoun Dairies. Twenty of the 21 individuals were of Middle Eastern descent. The cheeses that were contaminated were found to be sold in specialty food stores that carried foods from the Middle East. The individuals that became ill were from ten different states. Six of them were pregnant women, one of which resulted in fetal death. Three others died from Listeriosis linked to this outbreak (CDC 2016). This was a very long investigation, dating back to June 2010 and closing in October 2015 (CDC 2016). Foodborne illness from L. monocytogenes can be fatal, but it also can be easily prevented when simple precautions are put into place. Prevention L. monocytogenes is found in vast areas of the environment, including, soil, water, poultry and cattle. So understandably it can end up in our food. Companies must take lengthy precautions to be sure to eradicate the bacterium from food before it is served to the public.