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Burritos Recalled Over Listeria Contamination

Jan 2, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP Burritos tainted with the listeria monocytogenes pathogen are being recalled.  Home Fresh Sandwich Distributors, Inc. has recalled 172 pounds of its 7-Eleven Fresh to Go Burritos with Potatoes, Bacon Eggs, and Monterey Jack Cheese sandwiches, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced, according to

The recalled 7-Eleven Fresh to Go Burritos contain a "Best By" date of "Thursday 1225" and the establishment number "EST. 19496" inside the USDA mark of inspection said  The listeria-tainted burritos were produced on December 23, 2008 and were sold at Colorado convenience stores said the USDA, reported, which notes that products might have been purchased on December 24 and 25, 2008.

Listeria is a bacterium found in soil, vegetation, raw milk, meat, poultry, cheeses (particularly soft mold-ripened varieties), and salad vegetables as well as in animals and humans.  It is estimated that about 2,500 cases of listeria occur in the United States each year with about 200 in every 1000 cases resulting in death.  Listeria monocytogenes can grow at low temperatures, even in refrigerated environments; thorough cooking of food and milk pasteurization can destroy the listeria bacteria.  Listeria often invades the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract and, once in the body, can travel through the blood stream.  The bacteria are often found inside cells where toxins are produced resulting in damaged cells. reported that it was during routine microbiological testing by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that the contamination was revealed.  The USDA warns, said that consuming Listeria-contaminated foods can cause listeriosis. Listeriosis—the illness caused by the listeria bacteria—symptoms can develop in days or weeks and can vary from a mild flu-like illness to meningitis and septicemia; pregnant women can experience anything from miscarriage, still birth, or birth of an infected child.  Pregnant women are about 20 times likelier than others to be infected, with about one-third of listeriosis cases occurring during pregnancy; the incidence of listeriosis in newborns is 8.6 per 100,000 live births and the perinatal and neonatal mortality rate (stillbirths and early infant deaths) is 80%.  Those with compromised immune systems—such as those undergoing chemotherapy treatment or those diagnosed with HIV/AIDs and hepatitis—the very young, and the very old are
also at risk.  All at-risk individuals are advised to avoid certain foods, such as soft mold-ripened cheeses and pates, given those foods’ high incidence of being linked to listeria infection.

To avoid listeria contamination, consumers are generally advised to thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources; keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and from cooked and ready-to-eat foods; avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk; wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods; wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating; and consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible and within their expiration dates.

Last week, the FSIS announced that DeNiro Cheese, a Youngstown, Ohio, firm, recalled approximately one pound of its Sopressata sausage products over concerns of Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

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