Multiple recalls launched on Listeria concerns

by Monica Watrous
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WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration is investigating multiple recalls due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Refrigerated ready-to-eat products from Reser’s Fine Foods, Inc., salad kits from Taylor Farms, and Mexicali dip from Dutch Treat Salads, LLC and are among the recalled products. An FDA spokesperson said the recalls are under investigation and are not related to the agency’s knowledge.

Reser’s Fine Foods, Beaverton, Ore., is recalling refrigerated ready-to-eat products manufactured at its Topeka, Kan., plant and sold in retail and food service operations nationwide and in Canada. Recalled products include potato and pasta salads, dips, spreads and slaws.

“Our greatest concern is food safety; therefore, we are acting with speed and focusing on plant sanitation, increased testing and food handling practices while we continue to investigate,” said Mark Reser, president, in a letter posted on the company’s web site. “Food safety has been and will always be our No. 1 priority. Your trust has built our company and we are committed to resolving this issue and maintaining that trust.”

Reser’s Fine Foods first issued the recall on Oct. 22 and expanded it on Oct. 26, prompting Taylor Farms business units in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Texas and Tennessee to recall deli products that contain components implicated in Reser’s expanded recall. Recalled products from Taylor Farms include broccoli slaw crunch kits, diced summer slaw kits, coleslaw kits, cabbage coleslaw kits with dressing, spinach antipasti salad kits and Giardiniera vegetable salad kits with best-by dates ranging between Oct. 23 and Nov. 7.

Also concerned with a potential Listeria contamination, Dutch Treat Salads, LLC, Zeeland, Mich., on Nov. 1 recalled its Lipari Mexicali Dip, which contains an ingredient recalled by Reser’s. The dip was distributed in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

No illnesses have been reported in relation to any of the recalls. Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes is associated with fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions and diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms in sensitive individuals, as well as miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. A 2011 Listeria outbreak traced to a Denver cantaloupe processing operation led to 33 deaths and 147 illnesses.

In August, Taylor Farms was implicated in a Cyclosporiasis outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska from salad mix produced by its Mexico-based business unit. Taylor Farms de Mexico voluntarily suspended production and shipment of any salad mix, leafy green or salad mix components from its operations in Mexico to the United States. Yet on Aug. 25, Taylor Farms resumed production and shipment with approval from the FDA after assessments of the company’s facilities determined conditions and practices were in line with food safety standards.

Full lists of recalled products may be found at www.fda.gov.
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