Sacramento-area branches of Costco and Trader Joe's are the latest two chains to be affected by the ongoing Listeria outbreak and have pulled all products involved in two separate multistate recalls of potentially contaminated food accordingly.
This current outbreak has forced a recall of 42 brands involving 358 different fruits and vegetables. The very first case from this particular outbreak actually occurred back in 2013, but it was only in April of this year that it was traced to frozen produce. However, even with that knowledge, officials are still in the dark, as while they know that all of the cases are linked to the same source, they don't know what that source is.
Due to the ongoing outbreak, Costco has voluntarily removed quick-frozen vegetables and fruits from all seven of its stores in the Sacramento region, all of which had been sourced from a CRF Frozen Food plant in Wasco, Wash.
The recalled products include brands such as Organic by Nature, Columbia River Organics and Farmer's Bounty, and contain foodstuffs such as corn, edamame, raspberries, potatoes, kale, cherries and peas.
Each of these products have "sell by dates" from April 26, 2016, to April 26, 2018, said Costco VP of Food Safety Craig Wilson, adding that the products can be thrown away or returned for a full refund.
In a separate recall, Trader Joe's removed the product labeled "Trader Joe's Broccoli Slaw & Kale Slad with White Chicken Meat," with the establishment number "P-17156" inside the USDA mark of inspection, from seven of its stores in the Sacramento region.
Unlike Costco, this recall was prompted by an announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service this week, which revealed that sunflower seeds in the product may be contaminated with listeria. The sunflower seeds in question had been sourced from the Canadian specialty food company SunOpta.
The products have a "use-by date" from May 2, 2016, and May 7, 2016, said Trader Joe's spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki, adding that the products can be thrown away or returned for a refund or exchange.
As reported by the CDC, listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems. However, in rare instances, persons without these risk factors can also be affected. For healthy individuals, it can cause symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
So far, eight people from Washington, Maryland and California have been sickened and hospitalized due to the outbreak - two in 2016, and six between 2013 and 2015. One person from Maryland and one from Washington have died as well, but officials do not consider listeria to be the cause of death in either case.
Check out the full list of 358 recalled products, from all the affected brands, HERE.