Multistate Listeria outbreak linked to frozen vegetables
The CDC announced that a multistate Listeria outbreak responsible for several hospitalizations has been linked to frozen vegetables produced by CRF Frozen Foods.
Public health investigators identified eight people from California, Washington and Maryland infected with the outbreak strains. All patients were hospitalized, including two who died from causes unrelated to listeriosis. Illnesses occurred as early as Sept. 13, 2013. The two most recent cases were reported in 2016.
Three patients were interviewed, two of whom recalled purchasing and consuming Organic by Nature brand frozen vegetables, produced by CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington, in the month before illness onset. During a routine product sampling, officials from the Ohio Department of Agriculture isolated Listeria from True Goodness by Meijer brand frozen organic white sweet cut corn and organic petite green peas, both produced by CRF Frozen Foods. Whole-genome sequencing revealed the isolates were closely related genetically to isolates collected from ill patients.
On April 23, CRF Frozen Foods recalled 11 frozen vegetable products due to possible contamination. The recall was expanded on May 2 to include all organic and traditional frozen vegetable and fruit products processed at the company’s Washington plant since May 1, 2014. The products were sold under various brand names in the U.S. and Canada.
Health officials will continue to investigate the outbreak to determine whether food sources used in CRF Frozen Food products are linked to the illnesses.