Three food manufacturers have been named in a federal recall due to reports that mushrooms being sold are contaminated with the listeria bacteria. H&C Food Inc., Guan’s Mushroom Co., and Sun Hong Foods have been told to recall all Korean enoki mushrooms because of contamination with Listeria. The Food and Drug Administration advises everyone to dispose of the mushrooms to avoid illnesses related to the bacteria. The recall names California as a state with potential cases of listeriosis because all three companies are California-based, however, each of the named sellers of enoki mushrooms distribute to neighboring states.
Listeria bacteria is a dangerous, and sometimes deadly disease that causes someone to become sick with “listeriosis.” The infection most commonly affects women who are pregnant, newborn babies, the elderly, and people who have chronic medical conditions that weaken their immune system and their ability to fight off infection.
Though this recall hasn’t been connected to an outbreak, there are generally a few outbreaks each year in the United States because of mass spread of the listeria bacteria. When an outbreak does happen, it is important to track the disease and to find opportunities to protect those most vulnerable from being sick with the disease caused by listeria bacteria.
Listeria Health Concerns
Listeriosis is a serious infection that’s caused by eating food contaminated with the listeria bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Listeriosis can be a serious disease, and most people who are diagnosed with invasive listeriosis require hospital care. What’s even more alarming, about one in five people with the infection will die, which makes early detection of the listeria bacteria on food, packaging, and other products that come in contact with food extremely important.
Statistics from the CDC estimate that 1,600 people are diagnosed with listeriosis annually, and of those, roughly 260 die. It’s advisable to consult a health care professional if you or a loved one experiences any of the symptoms associated with listeriosis:
- Muscle aches
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Severe infections of the bloodstream (causing sepsis)
- Infections of the brain
These symptoms can appear a few days to a few weeks after eating the contaminated food. These are just some of the symptoms that people can experience, and it’s important to contact a doctor or health professional if you believe you have eaten something that’s caused you to become sick. Early warning signs are important so you can avoid even more serious health complications.
The elderly, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk of experiencing severe symptoms from exposure to the listeria bacteria, and extreme caution should be used by individuals who are susceptible to extreme gastrointestinal reactions.
Past Outbreaks Show Listeriosis Can Be Fatal
Though often times people can recover from exposure to the bacteria, an outbreak of listeriosis in 2015 proved to be deadly. After an outbreak of listeria in Blue Bell Creameries ice cream in 2015, 10 people needed to be hospitalized with three of those patients dying. This outbreak became so widespread, Blue Bell Creameries recalled all their products from shelves in order to prevent even more customers from falling ill with listeriosis.
Additionally, Blue Bell Creameries and its CEO faced federal charges after allegations the company didn’t follow proper food safety measures and that the CEO attempted to cover up the severity of the outbreak. This led to a nearly $20 million fine. This is the second-largest set of assessed fines, forfeitures, and civil payments for negligent food safety (the largest is Chipotle Mexican Grill). This also led to the Blue Bell Creameries CEO facing criminal charges for conspiracy to cover up the severity of the outbreak.
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If You Believe You Have Been Affected
It’s recommended that consumers and restaurants that may have come in contact with enoki mushrooms conduct deep cleaning on all surfaces where the mushrooms may have been. Deep cleaning will prevent cross-contamination to the public and prevent the bacteria from spreading. Additionally, all packaging or containers that infected food touched should be thrown away or deep cleaned to help prevent the spread of the bacteria.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm urges anyone seriously sickened by foodborne illness to contact our firm for legal advice at 800-794-0444. We provide free consultations to potential clients in 50 states, and we never charge any attorneys’ fees unless we win your case.