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Second Listeria Recall for HG Fine Foods

Jan 19, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is reporting a second recall of HQ Fine Foods EST 318 sandwich products over possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.  This is the second such recall by this food establishment in under four months.

Hygaard Mini Pizza and Little John Sub sandwich products with a Best Before date of 09/02/10 are involved in the current recall.  Hygaard Mini Pizza Subs with UPC 0 65504 49440 3 in the 140-gram size and Hygaard Little John Subs with UPC 0 65504 49446 5 in the 387-gram size are involved in the recall said the CFIA.  The products were sold in Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada.  HQ Fine Foods EST 318, a Sherwood Park sandwich producer, was also involved in a recall in September, reported the Sun News Alberta.  In that recall, 16 sandwiches, including the two in this recent recall, were involved.

The listeria bacterium is found in soil, vegetation, raw milk, meat, poultry, cheeses (particularly soft mold-ripened varieties), and salad vegetables.  About 2,500 cases of listeria poisoning occur in the United States annually 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.

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 percent.  Those with compromised immune systems—such as people undergoing chemotherapy treatment or those diagnosed with HIV/AIDs and hepatitis—the very young, and the very old are also at risk.  Healthy individuals may suffer short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

To help prevent 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 U.S. food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall announcement about Café Favorites Whole Grain 5" Super Sub sandwiches and, just prior, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the recall of two Patrick Cudahy bacon bit products.  Both recalls were issued over concerns of possible listeria contamination.

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