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More than 400 pre-made food sold in grocery stores across America are recalled over fears they’re contaminated with food poisoning bug
More than 400 pre-made food items sold in grocery stores across America are being recalled over fears they could be contaminated with listeria.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the major recall on Friday, which includes ready-made sandwiches, salads and cut fruit.
No illnesses have been reported to date, but people are being told to either throw the products away or return them to sellers for a full refund.
The foods were manufactured by the Fresh Ideation Food Group — a Maryland-based food manufacturer — and sold across nine states and Washington D.C.
It comes after 27 tons of deli meat was recalled last week over fears that it had also been contaminated with listeria.
More than 400 food items in the US are being recalled over a potential contamination with listeria (stock photo)
Products in the recall carry the ‘Fresh Creative Cuisine’ label, shown above
Listeria is a bacterial infection often associated with dairy products — such as ice cream — and deli meats. It can be deadly to pregnant women, newborns and the elderly.
Healthy individuals who ingest listeria may suffer short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Potentially contaminated products were sold between January 24 to 30, the recall notice says.
All affected products have a ‘Fresh Creative Cuisine’ label on the bottom of their label and a sell-by date of January 31 through February 6. A full list of the products being recalled has been published by the FDA here.
The agency announced the recall after environmental samples from the company tested positive for listeria.
It was unclear how listeria got into the foods, but vegetables can become contaminated by soil or from manure used as fertilizer. Dairy products can also become contaminated if raw milk containing listeria is used.
The states are Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
People can catch listeria after eating a food contaminated with the bacteria. This is most common in foods such as raw vegetables, meat and unpasteurized milk.
In rare cases, a person can even be infected after coming into contact with a contaminated animal.
Patients who have listeria in their intestines may suffer diarrhea and vomiting from 24 hours after being infected.
The majority of cases can be treated at home with limited medical intervention.
But in more severe cases patients may be prescribed antibiotics to fight off the infection. Patients are also at risk of developing meningitis, where the tissue around the spinal cord begins to swell.
About 1,600 Americans are diagnosed with the disease annually, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. It is responsible for 260 deaths.
WHAT IS LISTERIA?
The above image is a computer illustration of the organism Listeria monocytogenes bacterium
WHAT IT IS, THE RISKS, AND HOW TO AVOID IT
- Listeria is everywhere in the environment
- It’s a type of bacterium that infects humans and other warm-blooded animals through contaminated food
- It’s found in dirty water, irrigation water, soil and fertiliser
- Soft cheeses such as Camembert; cold chicken and deli meats; raw seafood and cold seafood such as smoked salmon; ice cream, fresh fruit and bagged vegetables can also carry Listeria
- Infection can also occur through contact with animals and pests and insufficient cleaning of contaminated fruit and unclean hands
WHO IS SUSCEPTIBLE … AND THE SYMPTOMS
- Pregnant women, infants, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk
- Listeria starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea and sometimes diarrhoea
- The time from consuming the bacterium to showing the signs of illness can often be between 8 to 90 days
- Some people end up in hospital with dehydration
HOW TO AVOID IT
- Don’t buy bruised or damaged fruit, wash it before eating and refrigerate within two hours of slicing
- Avoid foods past their ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date
- Cook foods thoroughly
- Reheat food until it is steaming hot
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 24 hours, or freeze
- Ready to eat food should never be stored in the fridge for too long as Listeria is one of the few pathogens that can grow in the refrigerator
Source: Food Authority NSW, Food Safety Information Council