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Most food recalls in the U.S. are due to Listeria

digitaljournal.com, by Tim Sandle, June 17, 2017 

New analysis shows that in the U.S. just under 550 food products were recalled. Of these, 275 were recalled due to microbial contamination. Listeria monocytogenes was the cause of 65 percent of the microbiological recalls.

The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is the major reason for recalls according to “Summary of Recall Cases in Calendar Year 2016”, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. Food Safety Tech has reported that in 2016, in the U.S. that some 550 food products were recalled. Of these, 275 were recalled due to microbial contamination. Of the microbiological recalls, Listeria monocytogenes was the cause of the microbiological recalls. 

Listeria monocytogenes is the species of pathogenic bacteria that causes the infection listeriosis. The organism is one of the most virulent foodborne pathogens, and up to 30 percent of food borne listeriosis infections can be fatal. Listeria leads to infections of the central nervous system (such as meningitis) and bacteremia in those who are immunocompromised, as well as pregnant women, and those at the extremes of age (newborns and the elderly). 

This trend seems set to continue with the U.S. experiencing a number of products recalled during May and June 2017, due to concerns with Listeria monocytogenes contamination. These are documented by the website BioExpert, and include: 

Club Chef LLC recalled fresh cut produce and retail Snack Kits, due to potential contamination with Listeria; 

CC Kitchens (Cincinnati, OH) recalled ready-to-eat meat and poultry salad products, including salad and slaw kit. This was due to Listeria being detected in the processing environment; 

Happy Sprout Inc. of Springfield, VA voluntarily recalled all packages of Soybean Sprouts for similar concerns; 

Global Garlic Inc from Miami, FL, recalled 16oz packages of “Queso Fresco/ Whole Milk” and (“Queso Fresco x LB(Barra)/Whole Milk Cheese due to potential Listeria contamination; 

Hampton Farms voluntarily recalled Ava’s brand Organic Cashews Roasted & Salted 8 oz. tubs distributed in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. 

With these recent incidents, most recalls were triggered by flags in the inspection process, rather than reports of consumer illness.