A Pasco company is expanding a recall to include all frozen fruits and vegetables made or processed there in the past two years, after federal health officials tied the products to a lengthy listeria outbreak that sickened eight people, including two who died.
Eight people from three states have been hospitalized with the outbreak strain of listeria since Sept. 13, 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some of the illnesses were linked to frozen vegetables produced by Pasco-based CRF Frozen Foods. Listeria was not the direct cause of the deaths, the agency added.
The cases include six in California and one each in Maryland and Washington state who died. Two illnesses were reported in 2016 and the rest were reported between 2013 and 2015, the CDC said.
The recall includes nearly 360 products sold under 42 different brands, covering a wide range of frozen vegetables, vegetable blends, stir-fry packages and fruits. Some of the brands are sold at Safeway, Trader Joe’s and Costco, among other stores.
Interviews with victims or caregivers showed that some reported eating Organic by Nature brand frozen vegetables in the month before they fell ill. Those frozen vegetables are produced by CRF Frozen Foods.
Ohio officials also isolated listeria from CRF-produced packages of True Goodness by Meijer brand frozen organic white sweet cut corn and frozen organic petite green peas. The genetic fingerprints of the listeria strains detected in the vegetables were closely related to strains found in ill people, CDC officials said.
The recall expands a previous recall announced April 23 and includes all frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products made or processed by CRF Frozen Foods since May 1, 2014, the company said in a statement. The plant had previously suspended operations. All of the affected products have best-by dates or sell-by dates between April 26, 2016, and April 26, 2018.
For a complete list of affected products, visit the company’s website at www.crffrozenfoods.com.
Consumers should not eat the products, and retailers should pull them from the shelves, CDC officials said.
Listeria is a potentially life-threatening infection that can affect pregnant women and their newborns, adults older than 65 and people with weakened immune systems.
Symptoms include fever, muscle aches and diarrhea. Nearly everyone infected with listeria bacteria is diagnosed with invasive infections that spread to the bloodstream or central nervous system. Symptoms can occur up to two months after eating contaminated food, but they usually show up within days.