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Chang Farms Recalls Soy Sprouts Over Listeria Fears

Apr 21, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

The Massachusetts Department of Health has issued a recall for soy sprouts infected with listeria that were sold under the Chang Farms label.  The soy sprouts from Chang Farms were sold in 12-ounce bags with a sell-by date of April 19 Chang Farms soy sprouts were sold in Stop & Shop and Whole Foods Market stores.  People who bought the sprouts should throw them away or return them to the store where the item was purchased. To date, no illnesses have been linked to the recalled soy sprouts.

Listeriosis is a type of food poisoning generated by the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria and is dangerous to the elderly, pregnant women, newborns, those with chronic medical conditions, people with HIV infection, or those who are undergoing chemotherapy.  Most people experience only mild flu like symptoms—fever, muscle aches, nausea, or diarrhea.  In serious cases, the disease spreads to the nervous system, causing headaches, stiff neck, and convulsions.  In pregnant women, Listeriosis can result in miscarriage or stillbirth.  Listeria lives in soil, stream water, sewage, plants, and food and can easily contaminate dairy and beef products; listeria thrives in cold environments.

Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new draft compliance policy for control of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in ready-to-eat foods.  This is a groundbreaking policy in that this is the first time different policies have been created for foods that do and do not support growth of the toxic organism.  For foods that do not support the growth of the listeria bacteria, the FDA will revise its tolerance level; the “zero tolerance” standard for ready-to-eat foods that do support the growth of the bacteria will not change.

In recent months, listeria has been the focus of a number of outbreaks, including three cases in North Carolina linked to soft cheeses and an outbreak at Massachusetts’ Whittier Farms dairy where four people died and more were sickened from consuming products produced at the dairy.  In January, in Olympia, Washington, the Ca Rem #1 Ice Cream, SeaTac voluntarily recalled its coconut-flavored popsicles when routine sampling and analysis revealed the presence of Listeria.  In February, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) alerted the public to avoid consuming smoked pork and beef bratwurst produced by J&B Meats, of Barnesville, Minnesota when a routine sampling revealed listeria contamination.  In March, Meijer Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan, pulled 2,184 pounds of frozen entrees after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) testing showed the food could be tainted with listeria.  Stop and Shop recalled four types of prepared chicken due to possible listeria contamination last month.  Most recently, raw milk from Piney Ridge dairy farm in New Bethlehem, Clarion County, and Clark and Elaine Duncan's farm in Meadville, Crawford County was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.


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