We’re not even halfway through December 2019 and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is as busy as a toy-making elf at the North Pole warning us consumers about what not to put in our mouths.
The CDC publishes a food safety web page with tips on how to prevent food poisoning and make safe food handling a “holiday tradition.”
A sidebar to the right of the main content is a link to Food Recalls.
When a company announces a recalled alimentary product, market withdrawal or safety alert, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posts the company’s announcement as a public service.
Food recalls due to the presence or suspected presence of the bacterial germ Listeria monocytogenes that causes severe food poisoning (called listeriosis or listeria) is a common reason for a food product to be removed from grocery store shelves.
Of the estimated 1,600 people who come down with listeriosis each year, about 260 die. Pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk of infection.
Symptoms of listeriosis food poisoning become noticeable within a few hours after eating contaminated food but they may not present for 2-3 days and can persist for days or several weeks.
Mild symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches
More severe symptoms may include:
- Stiff neck
- Loss of balance
Another common type of food poisoning is caused by the bacterium Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of Salmonella include:
- Diarrhea (which may be bloody)
- Abdominal pain
Rarely, the Salmonella germ can enter into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
If you think you or someone around you has developed symptoms of food poisoning, get medical help immediately. Never induce vomiting unless instructed by a professional healthcare provider. (The victim’s throat tissue may be further damaged by regurgitation.)
Following are the food alerts from the past week that the FDA wants us to know about so we can make informed decisions about our holiday (and every other day) fare:
12/11/19 CATSMO LLC. Recalls Smoked Salmon Because of Possible Health Risk
The Wallkill, New York food manufacturer, “out of an abundance of caution,” has issued a recall notice for its Cold Smoked Salmon because it may be tainted with Listeria monocytogenes.
Retail stores in 11 states and direct delivery distributed the product: NY, CT, NJ, MN, NC, FL, VA, MA, IL, PA, and Washington D.C.
No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this issue. Consumers who have purchased the recalled product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumer questions to the company: 845-895-2296 Monday through Friday 9am to 4pm EST.
12/10/10 Ruiz Food Products, Inc. Recalls Frozen Sausage Breakfast Burrito Products due to Possible Foreign Matter Contamination
The Florence, South Carolina, company is recalling some 55,013 pounds of frozen, not ready-to-eat (NRTE) breakfast burrito products containing eggs, sausage, and cheese that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically pieces of plastic.
The problem was discovered when three consumer complaints involving pieces of white, semi-rigid plastic found in the product were lodged. The good news is that there have been no confirmed reports of injuries from starting your day the burrito way. But check your freezer – better safe than sorry. And when in doubt, throw it out.
12/8/19 Tailor Cut Produce Recalls Cut Fruit Mix Because of Possible Health Risk
The New Jersey firm is recalling its Fruit luau, cut honeydew, cut cantaloupe, and cut pineapple products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
The recalled fruit products were distributed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware between November 15 and December 1, 2019.
The potential for contamination was noted after several patients fell ill in four Pennsylvania hospitals. Consumers’ questions to the company: 732-246-2002.
12/6/19 Tropical Nut and Fruit Co. Issues Allergy Alert of Undeclared Soy and Tree Nut (Almonds) on Their Truly Good Foods South of the Border Mix
The Charlotte, North Carolina food producer is voluntarily recalling its 25lb box of Truly Good Foods South of the Border nut mix, Lot #29119, Best By date 04/15/2020, Item # 102340 and UPC # 094184110198 because it contains undeclared soy and tree nut (almonds).
People who are allergic to soy or tree nuts may develop serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume this product.
The product was distributed only to select retail stores of specialty grocer The Fresh Market in the following states: NC (excluding Ashville), SC (only Myrtle Beach and Pawley’s Island stores), VA, IN, OH, PA, MA, NY, MD, DE, NJ, CT KY, and IL.
To date, no illnesses have been reported in connection with this recalled product. Purchasers may return any South of the Border nut mix to the store for a full refund. Product or allergy questions may contact Paola Chrisco at (980) 221-4356 M-F, 8am – 5pm Eastern Time.
12/6/19 White Castle Frozen Food Division Announces Voluntary Recall of a Limited Production of Frozen Sandwiches Sold in Select Grocery Outlets Due to Possible Presence of Listeria Monocytogenes
The Columbus, Ohio-based burger chain (800-843-2728) has initiated a voluntary recall of a limited number of frozen 6 pack cheeseburgers, frozen 6 pack hamburgers, frozen 6 pack jalapeno cheeseburgers, and 16 pack hamburgers, 16 pack cheeseburgers for the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes.
Customers are urged to dispose of or return recalled products to the store of purchase for an exchange or full refund and to consult with their physician regarding any medical questions.