Be careful shopping in the frozen food aisle this week.
CRF Frozen Foods—a company that supplies frozen fruits and vegetables to Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Costco, and a number of other large grocery chains and restaurants—is recalling a staggering 358 consumer products sold under 42 separate brands.
CRF announced the news on the Food and Drug Administration's website on Tuesday, noting that the company had decided to expand the recall voluntarily after evidence of listeria was discovered at one of its plants in Pasco, Washington. While the recall is largely a precautionary measure, the CDC says at least seven people from three states have been sickened and hospitalized due to listeria. Two of those seven people later died, though listeria was not listed as the cause of death.
“We apologize for any concern or inconvenience this expanded recall has caused our customers and consumers who enjoy our products,” CRF wrote in its statement. “We are issuing this release to alert consumers not to eat these products. Consumers who purchased these products may return them to the store where they were purchased for a refund, or simply discard them.”
According to NBC New York, the company’s initial recall on April 23 included only 15 items. In a matter of weeks that number has skyrocketed, however, and includes products dated as far back as May of 2014. In addition to Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Costco, companies like Panda Express, Emerald Farms, Safeway Kitchens, and Parade (among others) have all been affected.
On Wednesday, Trader Joe's announced yet another major recall, pulling 33,610 pounds of prepared food (broccoli slaw and kale salad with white chicken meat) from its shelves. The dish might have inlcuded infected sunflower seeds and was prepared by Ghiringhelli Specialty Foods in Vallejo, California.
In most healthy adults, listeria monocytogenes can cause fevers, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea and abdominal pain. But in pregnant women, an infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.
As if the news from CRF wasn’t horrifying enough, the nightmare this week for shoppers doesn’t end there. On Tuesday, the FBI arrested a man who was seen spraying poison on unpackaged produce at a Whole Foods in Michigan.
“The suspect has admitted to using a potentially hazardous material to contaminate food in several Ann Arbor-area grocery stores,” FBI agent David Gelios told the Detroit News. “Our joint investigation leads us to believe that this individual sprayed a liquid mixture of hand sanitizer, water and Tomcat mice poison on produce.”
This might be a good week to go out to eat...