Frozen Vegetable Product Recalls Cross Pacific to Japan
The list is getting longer for frozen vegetable products being pulled from retail store shelves due to possible Listeria moncytognes contamination in connection with the CRF Frozen Foods recall of organic and traditional fruits and vegetables that may have been purchased in all 50 US states, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and possibly beyond.
The massive recall has been initiated in cooperation with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC recently informed Pasco, Washington-based CRF Frozen Foods that it has identified seven people from three states who became ill and were hospitalized due to Listeria. Some of these illnesses have allegedly been linked to consumption of CRF-manufactured or processed products. Two of these persons later died, but Listeria was not deemed the cause of death in either case.
Among products subject to voluntary recall are prepared foods which contain frozen vegetables, such as Tai Pei Fried Rice and Ajinomoto Chicken Fried Rice dishes packed by Ontario, California-headquartered Ajinomoto Windsor, Inc. Another frozen ready meal on the recall list is Trader Joe's Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice.
At last count at least 358 products sold under 42 separate brand names are involved in the dragnet. Bells, Tennessee-headquartered Pictsweet Company is among the companies voluntarily recalling certain frozen vegetable products because they contain green beans or green peas supplied by CRF.
Salem, Oregon-based NORPAC Foods is recalling two frozen private label items: Natural Directions Organic Mixed Vegetables and Natural Directions Organic Peas, each distributed in 12-ounce packs.
The Kroger retail supermarket chain is recalling Simple Truth Organic Mixed Vegetables as a precaution, though no customer illnesses have been reported to date. Stores operating under the following names in 32 states from Alabama to Wyoming are included in the roundup: Kroger, Jay-C, Dillons, Bakers, Gerbes, King Soopers, City Market, Fry’s, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, QFC and Smith’s.
Nichirei Recalls Frozen Vegetables in Japan
Meanwhile the recall may have crossed the Pacific Ocean to Japan, where on May 11 frozen food company Nichirei announced that it will remove some 250,000 bags of frozen vegetables from retail freezer cases nationwide due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, reported the Xinhua news service. As this story was being filed, it could not be confirmed if the vegetables in question were sourced from CRF.
Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
The expanded recall includes all of the frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed in CRF Frozen Foods' Pasco facility since May 1, 2014. Affected SKUs have best by dates or sell by dates between April 26, 2016 and April 26, 2018.
The list of consumer products, including brand names and private labels, includes: Bybee’s, Columbia River Organics, Northwest Growers Select, Organic by Nature, Canadian-Costco Wholesale, C.H. Belts, Chef Maxwell, Correct Choice, Earth’s Pride, Endico, Farmer’s Bounty, Fiesta Mart, The Inn, Live Smart, Parade, O Organic, Pantry Essentials, Safeway Kitchens, Signature Kitchens, Trader Joe’s, USDA, VIP, Wessley Farms, JFDA, McCain, Mity Fresh, Overhill Farms, Veggie Mania and Life Foods.
Products range from organic and non-organic broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, corn, edamame, green beans and Italian beans, to kale, leeks, lima beans, onions, peas, pepper strips, potatoes, potato medley, root medley, spinach, sweet potatoes, various vegetable medleys, blends, and stir-fry packages, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, peaches, raspberries and strawberries.
Shoppers who possess any of these items are urged not to consume them, but instead return them to the store where they were purchased for a refund, or simply discard the packs. Persons with questions may call the company's consumer hotline at 844-551-5595.
Meanwhile, production operations have been suspended at CRF’s Pasco facility while a thorough review is being conducted.