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Frozen Potatoes Recalled for Listeria

Feb 23, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP Listeria worries have prompted the Northern Star Co. to recall a variety of frozen potato products.  The recalled products were sold in  Albertsons, Food Lion, Giant, Harris Teeter, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Stop Shop & Save, Walmart, Wegmans, and Winn Dixie stores.

According to a Northern Star press release, the affected products include the following items, with "use by" dates on the package of March 29, 2009 to April 3, 2009:

  • Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns -- 20-ounce bag UPC code 20169-22233
  • Simply Potatoes Southwest Style Hash Browns -- 20-ounce bag UPC code 20169-22236
  • Simply Potatoes Homestyle Slices -- 20-ounce bag UPC code 20169-22237
  • Simply Potatoes Red Potato Wedges -- 20-ounce bag UPC code 20169-22238
  • Diners Choice Shredded Hash Browns -- 2-pound bag UPC code 20169-22223
  • Farm Fresh Shredded Hash Browns -- 16-ounce bag UPC code 20169-22533

The recall is being initiated due to laboratory testing that showed a package of Simply Potatoes Southwest Style Hash Browns to contain Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.  This recall affects only retail products, not Northern Star Co. foodservice products, the company said.

According to Northern Star, the  potato products are considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a "not ready to eat" product, meaning that consumers must cook them properly to ensure they are safe to eat. Proper cooking of these products to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit for two minutes kills Listeria bacteria. However, consumers may return the product to the store where it was purchased for a full refund or replacement.  No illnesses have been linked to the Northern Star potatoes.

Listeria can cause a type of food poisoning that is particularly dangerous to the elderly, pregnant women, newborns, those with chronic medical conditions, people with HIV, or those undergoing chemotherapy.  In serious cases, the disease spreads to the nervous system, causing headaches, stiff neck, and convulsions.  Listeria can also cause meningitis and blood poisoning in immune-compromised individuals.   In pregnant women, listeria poisoning can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or birth of a baby suffering from the infection.

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