Products containing sliced apples are being recalled for Listeria contamination, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) just announced. Missa Bay, LLC, a subsidiary of Ready Pac Foods, Inc., of Swedesboro, New Jersey is recalling 293,488 cases and 296,224 individually distributed units of fruit, vegetable, and sandwich products containing the recalled apples slices.
The products bear Use-By Dates from July 8, 2012 through August 20, 2012 and were produced and distributed by the Missa Bay, LLC facility to retailers and foodservice operators in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
Listeria monocytogenes was found on equipment used by Missa Bay, LLC in its production of apple products and Missa Bay, LLC is coordinating with regulatory officials. Only the specific products identified are included in the recall and details on product description, use-by dates, and UPCs can be accessed on the FDA website.
The firm advises retailers and foodservice operators to check their inventories and store shelves to confirm that none of the recalled product is present or available for purchase by consumers or in warehouse inventories.
The firm advises consumers to check their refrigerators for the recalled products. Consumers who may have purchased the affected product should immediately dispose of it, and contact the Ready Pac Consumer Affairs Department with the Use-By Date and UPC, toll‐free at 1.800.800.7822, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time (PT) to obtain a full refund. Ready Pac’s web site can be accessed at: www.readypac.com. Ready Pac customer service representatives have contacted its impacted customers and are confirming that the recalled products are not in the stream of commerce.
No illnesses have been reported in connection with the recalled apple slices; however, as we’ve long explained, the Listeria pathogen is unique because it thrives in colder temperatures, such as those found in refrigerated environments. Listeria also has an unusually long incubation period—up to 70 days, according to experts. The pathogen also well tolerates heat and dry temperatures, adding further challenges to the pathogen’s eradication and length to expected reporting time frames.
Listeria monocytogenes can lead to the listeriosis infection, a potentially fatal disorder that can cause high fever; severe headache, neck stiffness, abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhea, and nausea, especially in those with weakened immune systems, infants, and the elderly. Vulnerable populations, such as the developing fetus, can suffer serious central nervous system problems. The infection can also prompt premature births, or the death of the fetus via miscarriage and stillbirth; pregnant women are 20 times likelier to become infected. Listeriosis can lead to hearing loss or brain damage in newborns, and to neurological effects and cardio respiratory failure in adults.