Listeria outbreak forces expanded CRF Frozen Foods recall to include all frozen fruit, vegetable products
This story has been updated.
An outbreak of Listeria across three states has prompted Washington-based processor CRF Frozen Foods to expand its nationwide recall. The massive product recall now includes all frozen vegetables and fruit varieties—approximately 358 consumer products sold under 42 separate brands—because the products could potentially be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
The company issued its original recall for 15 varieties of peas, sweet corn and mixed vegetables in late April. The recall now applies to all of the frozen organic and traditional fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed in CRF Frozen Foods' Pasco, WA facility since May 1, 2014. All affected products have the best by dates or sell by dates between April 26, 2016 and April 26, 2018. Products were widely distributed to national grocery chains and may have been purchased in all US states as well as select provinces in Canada including British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Products include organic and non-organic broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, corn, edamame, green beans, Italian beans, kale, leeks, lima beans, onions, peas, pepper strips, potatoes, potato medley, root medley, spinach, sweet potatoes, various vegetable medleys, blends, and stir fry packages, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries.
As of April 25, CRF says it has suspended operations at its Pasco facility to conduct a thorough review.
The CDC informed CRF it has identified eight people from three states who became ill and were hospitalized due to Listeria. Some of these illnesses have been linked to consuming CRF-manufactured or processed products. Two of these individuals later died, though, Listeria was not that cause of death in either person.
Investigators say two of the ill people reported purchasing and eating frozen vegetable products produced by CRF before their illness began. In addition, the Ohio Department of Agriculture collected packages of CRF-produced frozen corn products from a retail store and isolated Listeria. Whole genome sequencing showed that the Listeria isolate from the frozen corn was closely related genetically to seven bacterial isolates from ill people,
Federal and state health officials report the investigation is ongoing to determine if food sources used to manufacture CRF Frozen Foods products could explain some of the illnesses. CDC and state and local public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance to identify additional ill people and interview them.