Chicken and Ham Products Recalled for Listeria Contamination

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In its third recall over a month, Milwaukee-based Garden Fresh Foods recalled more than 50 tons or 100,000 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken and ham products due to possible listeria contamination. According to a news report in the Journal Sentinel, the newly recalled products, which were distributed nationwide, including in California, consist of prepared chicken and ham sold under various brand names including Garden-Fresh, Archer Farms, D’Amico and Sons and Grandpa’s. The foods included in this recall were produced between September 6 and October 10.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service detected the bacteria in additional products in samples taken from a food safety assessment at Garden Fresh after the initial recall. The recall is categorized as high-risk meaning that consumption can cause serious illness or death. This recall expands on two others from September and October, which affected nearly 26,000 pounds of similar foods.

The Dangers of Listeria Contamination

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), listeria is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning, which primarily affects pregnant women, the elderly and individuals with weak or compromised immune systems. Listeria can pass from a pregnant woman to her fetus or newborn, causing miscarriage and stillbirth. In a newborn, it can cause bloodstream infections, meningitis or even death. The risk for pregnant women from listeria is 10 times higher than for the general population.

How to Prevent Listeria Poisoning

There are several steps vulnerable groups, particularly pregnant women, can take to minimize their risk:

  • Identify risky foods such as soft cheeses and stay away from them. Do not drink raw, unpasteurized milk or eat cheeses made from it.
  • Heat deli meats and hot dogs until steaming hot before eating.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours in shallow covered containers and use within three to four days.
  • Prevent cross-contamination in the refrigerator or other places in the kitchen.
  • Use a thermometer to make sure that your refrigerator is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and your freezer is zero degrees or lower.

If you have been infected, please see a doctor right away. Isolate the suspect food so it can be preserved for testing at a lab for pathogens. Also, report your illness to the local health agency and contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who will help protect your legal rights.

10 Million Pounds of Frozen Food Recalled after Nationwide E. coli Outbreak

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Rich Products Corporation, a New York-based food producer is recalling more than 10 million pounds of frozen pizza and other snack foods after their products have been linked to a rare and potentially dangerous E. coli outbreak.

According to an NBC News report, three million pounds of the products still remain in the marketplace. Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 27 people in 15 states have been infected by the E. coli O121 bacteria, with which the recalled food is believed to be contaminated.

The snacks involved in this recall have “best by” dates from Jan. 1 2013 through Sept. 29, 2014. So far, eight people suffered food poisoning severe enough to be hospitalized. This massive recall expands a March 28 recall of 196,222 pounds of Farm Rich brand chicken quesadillas and other frozen mini meals and snack items, which could also be contaminated by the same strain of E. coli.

Rare and Dangerous Strain of Bacteria

The bacteria involved in this particular outbreak are known as Shiga-toxin producing E. coli. They create toxins that can lead to severe symptoms including bloody diarrhea and stomach cramps. This strain is also dangerous as it could lead to a condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS that could result in kidney failure and death.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2011 banned E. coli O121 and five other strains also known as the “big six” from the nation’s beef supply. The bacteria can be difficult to identify because clinical labs usually test only for the E. coli O157 strains. Shiga-toxin producing E. coli can make a person sick between two to eight days after eating the contaminated food. Children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable to the worse effects of this particular type of illness.

Compensation for Food Poisoning Victims

If you or a loved one has been sickened by these or other contaminated products, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the negligent food producer. Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation and other related damages. Victims would also be well advised to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled food poisoning and other defective products cases.

Frozen Quesadillas and Other Foods Recalled for E. coli Contamination

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At least 24 people are sick in 18 states after an E. coli outbreak that officials are linking to frozen chicken quesadillas and other mini meals recalled by New York-based Rich Products this week. According to a USA Today news report, the firm has recalled 196,222 pounds of the quesadillas, mini meals and snack items for possible bacterial contamination.

The outbreak of E. coli 0121 was first detected by health officials last week. Officials then examined samples of these products, which tested positive for the strain of E. coli. Eight of the food poisoning victims said they ate products made by Rich Foods. The company posted notice of the food recall on its website and advised consumers to cook the food thoroughly according to the instructions on the package.

Several Meals and Snacks Recalled

The recalled products include Farm Rich mini pizza slices, quesadillas with cheese and chicken and Farm Rich Philly cheese steaks. Other snack foods such as Farm Rich mozzarella bites may also be contaminated. All the foods involved in this recall were manufactured between Nov. 12 and Nov. 19. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is concerned that some consumers could still have these products in their freezers.

E. Coli Symptoms and Complications

The E. coli strain that is involved in this particular outbreak has become rarer, scientists say. Such infections can result in severe symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, dehydration and abdominal cramping for three or four days. Although most people tend to recover, some may develop a type of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue, bleeding from nose and mouth and swelling.

Compensation for Victims

Anyone who has been sickened by contaminated food would be well advised to isolate and preserve the food that made them ill so it can be tested in the lab for pathogens. Victims should also get immediate medical attention and diagnostic testing and report their illness to the local healthcare agency. Food poisoning victims can file a personal injury claim against the negligent food producer for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, cost of hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced personal injury lawyer can provide victims and their families with more information about pursuing their legal rights.

Bumble Bee Tuna Cans Recalled for Potential Contamination

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Bumble Bee Foods has issued a voluntary recall for specific codes of five-ounce Chunk White Albacore and Chunk Light tuna products because of loose seals that may lead to spoilage or bacterial contamination. According to a CBS news report, Tri-Union Seafoods LLC also announced a recall of many lots of its Chicken of the Sea cans for improper packaging and the risk of contamination as well.

A statement from Bumble Bee says that the products included in this recall do not meet the company’s standards for seal tightness. Loose seals could cause the food to spoil or result in contamination that could sicken consumers.

So far, no illnesses have been reported as a result of these defective products. Consumers are urged to visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s web site for a complete list of the recalled products. Company officials say their top priority is to remove the recalled products from distribution. Consumers who have purchased these products are asked to discard them and contact Bumble Bee at 1-800-800-8572 with any questions or concerns.

Food Poisoning Statistics

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), salmonella is the most common type of food-borne illness in the United States followed by Campylobacter, listeria and E. coli. Each year more than 48 million Americans suffer from some type of food-borne illnesses. Also, bacterial infections such as salmonella and E. coli poisoning result in a majority of hospitalizations when it comes to food-borne illnesses.

Preventing Food Poisoning

There are several safety measures that can be taken to handle food safely and prevent food poisoning:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water before and after handling any raw meat, fruits and vegetables.
  • Make sure that foods are stored at the right temperatures. For example, refrigerate and freeze foods that need to be chilled right away.
  • If you are cooking meat, use a meat thermometer to ensure that it is cooked thoroughly.
  • Wash utensils and disinfect surfaces before and after use to prevent cross-contamination.

If you or a loved one has become ill as a result of contaminated food, please isolate and preserve the food so it can be tested in a lab. Also, report your illness to the local health care agency. If you have suffered losses, please contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights.

Easter Candy Recalled Due to Salmonella Scare

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Chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs, an Easter staple, have been recalled by an Indiana candy maker cover fears that they may be contaminated with salmonella bacteria. According to an ABC News report, Zachary Confections announced the voluntary recall of the Easter treats after a sample taken during routine testing revealed “the potential for salmonella contamination.”

The recall covers five-ounce packages of the marshmallow eggs that are sold in white egg crates with purple, green and yellow lettering and carry the product number 31-797 and the “best by” date of February 14, 2014.

easter-candy-recall

These products were shipped to stores in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company states it is not aware of any illnesses linked to its products. But it has suspended production while FDA officials investigate the potential contamination. The FDA recommends that anyone who purchased these products return them to the store and not consume them.

How Dangerous is Salmonella?

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 1.4 million cases of salmonella food poisoning in the United States each year. Only 40,000 of those cases are actually reported.

The top three causes of hospitalization in 2008 due to food-borne illnesses were salmonella (62 percent), E. coli (17 percent) and Norovirus (7 percent). Each year, 400 people in the United States die as a result of salmonella infection.

The most common signs and symptoms of salmonella infection include nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal cramping or pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains and bloody stools. In many cases, salmonella infection could lead to several days of hospitalization. Salmonella infection may also result in serious injury or death, especially if it is resistant to medication.

Liability of Food Producers

Food producers are responsible for ensuring that their products are clean and safe for consumers. Victims who are affected by food poisoning can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, treatment, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

An experienced personal injury attorney in California who has successfully handled food poisoning cases will be able to better advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options. If you have been sickened by contaminated food, please isolate and preserve the food item so it can be examined in a laboratory and report the incident to your local health care agency.

Spinach Connected to Food Poisoning Recalled In 39 States

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Taylor Farms Retail Inc., a company based in Salinas, California, announces a recall of several batches of baby spinach that may have been contaminated with E. coli and marketed in 39 states.  The spinach may be capable of causing a very serious form of food poisoning in those who consume it.

spinach-food-recall

The spinach in question was sold in 5-ounce or 16-ounce trays under the following names and should have a “best by” date of February 24, 2013:

  • Taylor Farms Organic
  • Central Market Organics
  • Simple Truth Organic
  • Full Circle Organics
  • Marketside Organic

The company has stated that it does not know how the bacteria got into the spinach but that it has not received any reports of foodborne illness related to the spinach.

Those with trays of the baby organic spinach are encouraged to throw them away and under no circumstances to consume them.  Customers can contact Taylor Farms at the Taylor Farms web site or by calling 855-293-9811.

What Is E. Coli?

Escherichia coli or E. coli is a common bacteria normally found in the digestive system of animals.  However, when this bacteria contaminates food, it can cause serious enteric problems.  The strain about which this recall is concerned, Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli  or EHEC, has been linked to serious digestive complaints.  While most patients recover on their own, children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems can be at particular risk of serious injury or death from E. coli poisoning.

While the primary sources of EHEC poisoning are raw or undercooked meats and raw milk, contamination of vegetables with feces may also produce an outbreak.  EHEC is heat-sensitive, so it is often killed in cook processes in meats; however, raw vegetables may be a particular source of risk of EHEC.

What Should I Do To Prevent Food Poisoning?

The World Health Organization offers five tips to prevent food poisoning in yourself and your family.

  • Keep clean.  Avoid cross-contamination by washing your hands frequently with antibacterial soap and cleaning counter surfaces carefully, especially after foods have come into contact with them.
  • Separate raw and cooked.  Never mix raw material with cooked food.  In your refrigerator, be sure to keep raw meat packaged well so that it does not leak juice onto other foods.
  • Cook thoroughly.  Be sure you are familiar with the proper temperatures for cooking foods thoroughly and stick to these guidelines.
  • Keep foods at safe temperatures.  Never allow raw or cooked foods to sit at room temperature; be sure you know the safe cooling temperatures to store foods.
  • Use safe water.  Always wash vegetables and fruits in clean, safe water.  Do not reuse water to wash other foods.

Following the WHO’s food guidelines will help you have a safer kitchen.  However, there are some forms of pathogens that are resistant to standard safety procedures.  If a company manufactures or distributes food that is tainted, the company may be liable for the damages caused.

If you have been a victim of a foodborne illness, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case and learn how you can collect damages from the at-fault company.

Trader Joe’s Supplier Recalls Peanut Butter for Salmonella Contamination

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Sunland Inc., which makes the Trader Joe’s brand peanut butter, has recalled 76 different defective products due to the possibility of salmonella contamination. According to an NBC News report, the company has recalled three brands of Trader Joe’s peanut butter and almond butter. The products have been linked to 29 infections in 18 states including California caused by the rare salmonella Bredeney. Sunland is also recalling peanut and almond products sold under popular brands including Archer’s, Earth Balance, Fresh & Easy, Heinen’s, Natural Value, Naturally More, Sprout’s and Serious Food. The products have best-by dates between May 1, 2013 and September 24, 2013.

The food poisoning cases linked to these products were reported between June 11 and September 2, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far four people have been hospitalized. The company is recalling the products although officials say they have not detected positive results for the rare salmonella strain in the products. Symptoms of a salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and cramping. The illness may last four to seven days. Some people who become more seriously ill may require hospitalization.

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FDA Halts Imports of Mexican Mangoes due to Salmonella Contamination

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is putting a hold on mango imports from a Mexican packinghouse after the company’s mangoes have been related to food-borne illnesses in 15 states including California. According to an Associated Press news report, the FDA announced the safety alert against Agricola Daniella, a mango supplier with multiple plantations and one packinghouse in Sinaloa, Mexico. This alert basically means that the U.S. government will not accept any further imports from the company unless it can show testing that proves that the mangoes are no longer contaminated.

The company’s mangoes have been linked to salmonella illnesses in 15 states. So far, 121 people have been sickened. No deaths have been reported. A California importer recalled the Daniella brand mangoes last month after they were linked to dozens of illnesses nationwide, a majority of them in California. Various retailers sold those mangoes from July 12 to August 29.

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Fresno-Based Company Recalls Cantaloupe for Salmonella Contamination

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DFI Marketing of Fresno is recalling cantaloupe due to food poisoning concerns. According to a news report in The Newport Beach Patch, salmonella was found on a single sample of cantaloupe during routine testing conducted at a wholesale produce distribution center, which is part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) testing program. So far, no illnesses have been reported. The recalled products include about 28,000 cartons of bulk-packed product. The fruit was packed on August 26, 2012 and distributed primarily to retail customers in 21 states including California. Some of the fruit was also exported to Mexico. Anyone who has these defective products at home would be well advised to not consume them.

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Ricotta Cheese Recalled for Listeria Contamination

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Forever Cheese has issued a product defect recall for its Ricotta Salata Frescolina brand due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. According to a news report in Consumeraffairs.com, the cheese was initially sold to distributors for retailers and restaurants in 19 states including California, between June 20 and August 9, 2012. The products were sold to supermarkets, restaurants and wholesale distributors. So far, there have been 14 reported illnesses in 11 states that may be linked to these products. The company is trying to contact all distributors and retailers in an attempt to pull the products off the shelves. Consumers who have purchased this brand of cheese are asked to refrain from eating the product and contact their distributor or retailer for a full refund.

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