Jul 29

Listeria-Laden Onions Spur Recalls throughout United States

On July 28, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) published a press release notifying consumers of a voluntary recall initiated by GH Foods CA, LLC. The recall covers a variety of products containing certain onions distributed by Gills Onions and shipped to various packagers and retail supermarkets throughout the United States. According to the California-based manufacturer, the recall was initiated because the onions have the potential to be contaminated with listeria monocytogenes.

The recall of Gills Onions initially commenced on July 18, 2012 but has since been expanded and prompted several other recalls of its kind. Because the recalled onions were ultimately used as ingredients in ready-to-eat foods in grocery stores throughout the country, news of onion recall spurred several others in its wake. In particular, Whole Foods Market initiated a recall of a number of fresh food items sold in the Store’s prepared food departments. According to the recall notice, found here, the recall affects the several listed prepared food items sold in Whole Foods’ 17 Florida locations only. In addition, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. has initiated a recall of certain self-serve and ready-to-cook foods sold in three of its Pennsylvania stores. The press release detailing the Wegmans recall may be found here.

While listeria monocytogenes and its associated illness, listeriosis, may result in only minor symptoms for the general public, the infection may cause miscarriage among pregnant women and death in susceptible populations, particularly the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. For more information about listeria monocytogenes, please see our previous report here. Ultimately, no illnesses have yet been reported in connection with consumption of the recalled onions. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates with respect to the foregoing recalls.

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