Frozen corn and possibly other frozen vegetables are the likely source of an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes that has been affecting Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom since 2015.

Experts used whole genome sequencing to identify the food source, which initially was thought to be limited to frozen corn. As of 8 June 2018, 47 cases including nine deaths had been reported.

The same strains of L. monocytogenes have been detected in frozen vegetables produced by the same Hungarian company in 2016, 2017 and 2018. This suggests that the strains have persisted in the processing plant despite the cleaning and disinfection procedures that were carried out.

The available information confirms the contamination at the Hungarian plant. However, further investigations, including thorough sampling and testing, are needed to identify the exact points of environmental contamination at the Hungarian plant. The same recommendation applies to other companies belonging to the same commercial group if environmental contamination is detected.

On 29 June 2018, the Hungarian Food Chain Safety Office banned the marketing of all frozen vegetable and frozen mixed vegetable products produced by the affected plant between August 2016 and June 2018, and ordered their immediate withdrawal and recall. This last measure is likely to significantly reduce the risk of human infections and contain the outbreak. All freezing activity at the plant has been stopped.

New cases could still emerge due to the long incubation period of listeriosis (up to 70 days); the long shelf-life of frozen corn products; and the consumption of frozen corn bought before the recalls and eaten without being cooked properly.

To reduce the risk of infection, consumers should thoroughly cook non ready-to-eat frozen vegetables, even though these products are commonly consumed without cooking (e.g. in salads and smoothies). This applies especially to consumers at highest risk of contracting listeriosis – such as the elderly, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems.

The number of new cases reported each week has decreased since the implicated products were recalled on 04 March 2018 (Figure 1).

Neonates ≤28 days of age are the most affected age group, followed by adults aged 15 – 49 years of age (Figure 2).

Most cases have been reported from Gauteng Province (58%, 611/1 049), followed by Western Cape (13%, 132/1 049) and KwaZulu-Natal (8%, 80/1 049) provinces (Table 1).

There have been 209 deaths.

Listeriosis outbreak situation report _11June2018_final

  • The number of reported cases per week has decreased since the implicated products were recalled on 04 March 2018 with a total of 64 cases reported since 5 March 2018 (average 6.4 cases/week), whereas 249 cases were reported for the 10-week period prior to the recall (average 24.9 cases/week).
  • Prior to 2017, an average of 60 to 80 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases per year (approximately 1 per week), were reported in South Africa. In July 2017, an increase in laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis was reported to National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) which was followed by investigations into the reported increase. On 05 December 2017, the listeriosis outbreak was declared by the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi. The source of the outbreak was identified as ready-to-eat processed meat products manufactured at Enterprise Foods’ Polokwane production facility. A recall of affected products was initiated on 04 March 2018.

  • 1 034 cases have been reported from 01 January 2017 to 16 May 2018. The number of new cases reported each week has decreased since the implicated products were recalled on 04 March 2018 (Figure 1). Neonates ≤28 days of age are the most affected age group, followed by adults aged 15 – 49 years of age (Figure 2). Most cases have been reported from Gauteng Province (59%, 606/1 034), followed by Western Cape (13%, 130/1 034) and KwaZulu-Natal (7%, 75/1 034) provinces (Table 1).

  • All clinical isolates received at NICD are undergoing whole genome sequencing (WGS). A total of 543 clinical isolates have undergone WGS to date (Figure 1); 92% (499/541) belong to the sequence type 6 (ST6) outbreak strain, and the remainder belong to thirteen different sequence types.
  • Listeriosis outbreak situation report draft _21May2018_final

Frozen broccoli contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria has been found at Stop & Shop’s store on Ellington Road in South Windsor, and the chain is recalling the product. State food inspectors found the listeria-tainted, 16-ounce “Private Brands Frozen Broccoli Cuts” during a routine test of sample products at the store and the supermarket chain issued the recall on Monday. The product code for this broccoli is “UPC 068826700926” and the packages’ use-by code is “BEST BY MAR 15 2020.” Stop & Shop issued a voluntary recall on the frozen broccoli based on the results of tests done by the state Department of Consumer Protection.

Giant Food Stores, with locations across Maryland, said Wednesday it is voluntarily recalling frozen broccoli under its own label because it may have been contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Private Brand Frozen Broccoli Cuts (16 oz.) with a sell-by date of March 15, 2020 and UPC code 68826700926 are being recalled by the grocery chain after a supplier notified the company of the possible contamination. Giant/Martin’s has removed all affected product from its shelves and urges customers to return the product to their local store for a full refund, according to a news release. While there have been no reports of illnesses to date, the frozen vegetable product is being recalled as a precautionary measure after a product sampled by the state of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria Monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. It’s also particularly dangerous to pregnant women, as it can cause miscarriages and still births. Healthy people usually only suffer short-term symptoms, such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Anyone who has these symptoms are urged to seek medical attention.

Hickory Harvest Foods is recalling snack packs of nuts and dried fruits from grocers, convenience stores and truck stops in more than 30 states after company testing found Listeria monocytogenes contamination in a production plant.

The recall notice from the Akron, OH, company said no confirmed illnesses have been reported in connection with the fruit and nut products. The recalled products are sold under several brands. Hickory Harvest distributed the products to Liberty Snacks, Heinens, Pilot Flying J, Travel Centers, Diamond Gasoline, and Petro locations.

The specific products subject to this recall are:

•9-ounce Hickory Harvest Island Fruit Mix in plastic resealable bags with the UPC number 0-36232-06052-9 and lot number/best-by date of 032019;  

•9-ounce Heinens Organic Nut Mix in plastic deli tubs with the UPC number  0-36232-01871-1 and lot number/best-by date of 031919; 

•1.3-ounce Liberty Snacks Raw Almonds in plastic tube bag with the UPC number 8-04879-17157-7 and lot number/best-by date of 031919;  

•1.6-ounce Liberty Snacks Almond Raisin Mix in plastic tube bag with the UPC number 8-04879-17158-4 and lot number/best-by date of 032019;  

•1-ounce Liberty Snacks Natural Pistachios in plastic tube bag with the UPC number 8-04879-17158-4 and a lot number/best-by date of 032019; and  

•1.2-ounce Liberty Snacks Honey Cashews in plastic tube bag with the UPC number 8-04879-17154-4 and lot number/best-by date of 032119.  

Hickory Harvest distributed the recalled productsin the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MO, NC, ND, NE, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WY.

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure to the pathogen. Symptoms can include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Also, anyone who has eaten the recalled products should monitor themselves during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms to develop.

Listeria monocytogenes is a microscopic organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, pregnant women, and others with weakened immune systems. Listeria infection can also cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and fetal infection in pregnant women.

Hickory Harvest Foods of Akron, Ohio is voluntarily recalling specific lots due to the potential exposure to Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria monocytogenes,an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, pregnant women, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may experience short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Listeria infection can also cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and fetal infection in pregnant women. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

Items include:

9 oz. Island Fruit Mix in a plastic resealable bag
9 oz. Organic Nut Mix in our plastic deli tubs
1.3 oz. Raw Almonds in plastic tube nut bag
1.6 oz. Almond Raisin Mix in plastic tube nut bag
1 oz. Natural Pistachios in plastic tube nut bag
1.2 oz. Honey Cashews in plastic tube nut bag

There have been no reported consumer illnesses to date in association with this product. This recall was initiated after Hickory Harvest staff performed routine in house environmental testing, the presence of Listeria monocytogenes on a piece of production equipment.

These items were sold at Liberty Snacks, Heinens, Pilot Flying J, Travel Centers, Diamond Gasoline, and Petro locations in the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MO, NC, ND, NE, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WY.

No other Hickory Harvest Foods products are impacted by this voluntary recall.

The following products are included in this product recall:

Item UPC
Item Description
Lot Numbers
0-36232-06052-9
Hickory Harvest: Island Fruit Mix
032019
0-36232-01871-1
Heinens: Organic Nut Mix
031919
8-04879-17157-7
Liberty Snacks: Raw Almonds
031919
8-04879-17158-4
Liberty Snacks: Almond Raisin Mix
032019
8-04879-17158-4
Liberty Snacks: Natural Pistachios
032019
8-04879-17154-4
Liberty Snacks: Honey Cashews
032119

Hickory Harvest Foods:
Island Fruit Mix

The lot number is the best if purchased by date 03/20/19, located on the back of the bag. Consumers that have any of these bags, please dispose of your product.

Heinens:
Organic Nut Mix

The lot number is the best if purchased by date 03/19/19, located on the bottom of the tub.
Consumers that have any of these bags, please dispose of your product.

Liberty Snacks:
Raw Almonds

The lot number is the Best By: 03/19/19, located on the front of the bag.
Consumers that have any of these bags, please dispose of your product.

Liberty Snacks:
Almond Raisin Mix

The lot number is the Best By: 03/20/19, located on the front of the bag.
Consumers that have any of these bags, please dispose of your product.

Liberty Snacks:
Natural Pistachios

The lot number is the Best By: 03/20/19, located on the front of the bag.
Consumers that have any of these bags, please dispose of your product.

Liberty Snacks:
Honey Cashews

The lot number is the Best By: 03/21/19, located on the front of the bag.
Consumers that have any of these bags, please dispose of your product.

According to press reports, the listeriosis epidemic is under control now that meat products from Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken have been recalled, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told Parliament on Tuesday. “Since the recall, we have had fewer than five cases a week in the past five weeks compared to 40 a week before the recall,” Motsoaledi said during his R205bn Budget Vote in Parliament.

According to the NICD report released today, 1,033 laboratory confirmed cases (728 ill, 204 dead) have been reported from 01 January 2017 to 10 May 2018. The number of reported cases has decreased since the implicated products were recalled on 04 March 2018.

Neonates ≤28 days of age are the most affected age group, followed by adults aged 15 – 49 years of age.

Most cases have been reported from Gauteng Province (59%, 605/1 033), followed by Western Cape (13%, 130/1 033) and KwaZulu-Natal (7%, 75/1 033) provinces.

The findings of the NICD are in summary:

  • 92% of clinical isolates taken from case-patients belong to listeria sequence type 6 (ST6) and are genetically similar confirming that a single strain of listeria is responsible for the outbreak
  • 86% of patients interviewed reported eating polony in the month before falling ill with listeriosis
  • The isolates taken from patients and from the Enterprise Foods’ Polokwane production facility (the post-cooking area and final production clips and casing) are 99.99% similar, linking the L. monocytogenes ST6 strains
  • 7 samples of ready-to-eat processed meat products taken at the Enterprise Factory in Polokwane on February 15, 2018 tested positive for the ST6 outbreak strain. The samples were taken by the NICD accompanied by two WHO food safety experts.

According to the NICD, these findings are irrefutable evidence that:

  • Enterprise Foods and by extension Tiger Brands Limited are the source of the listeria outbreak.
  • The ST6 strain of Listeria responsible for the outbreak was not just found in the environment of the Enterprise Foods Polokwane operations as some commentators suggest, but also on the final product. NICD Press Statement.

To Tiger Brands’ credit, it has been transparent with its test results.  Its transparency support of the NICD findings is hopeful for its customers that suffered as a result of the Listeria-tainted product.  Tiger Brands should be commended for its willingness to provide the results in a public forum.

Here is the Tiger Brands’ announcement in full:

Results of Independent Tests carried out in respect of the presence of Listeria monocytogenes ST6 type (“LST6”) Shareholders are referred to the SENS announcement issued by the Company on 5 March 2018, relating to an order issued by the National Consumer Commission for the Company to conduct a recall of certain identified Enterprise products. In that announcement, it was stated that in a batch of one of its products tested by the Company on 14 February 2018, the presence of the ST6 strain could not be confirmed and that the relevant samples had been sent to an external laboratory for the identification of the strain. The test results were received on 15 March 2018, but these had proved inconclusive and, as a result, the samples were sent for further re-testing.

The purpose of this announcement is to update shareholders on the results of the independent laboratory re-testing which was carried out in respect of the presence of LST6 in the above samples which were manufactured at the Enterprise Polokwane processing facility. On 24 April 2018, Tiger Brands received confirmation of the presence of LST6 in these samples. As reported previously, we have been actively engaging with the Department of Health and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases on our findings and will continue to collaborate with them on the actions taken to date to actively address our findings.

The Enterprise facilities in Polokwane, Pretoria and Germiston still remain closed while remedial work continues. An arrangement has been concluded between Pork Packers (which is based in Clayville) and our pig suppliers to contract slaughter on their behalf with effect from 2 May 2018.

“Now it is time to take care of the victims and to work with government, the industry and the public to see that an outbreak like this never, ever occurs again,” said, US Food Safety Attorney, William Marler, who is acting as a consultant to the South Africa Listeria Class Action.

National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), updated the outbreak of Listeria on 3 May 2018.

As of 24 April 2018, a total of 1,024 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD since 01 January 2017. Since the recall 7 weeks ago, a total of 55 cases have been reported, whereas for the 7 weeks prior to the recall, 169 cases were reported. All cases that have been identified after the recall are being fully investigated.

Prior to 2017, an average of 60 to 80 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases per year (approximately 1 per week), were reported in South Africa. In July 2017, an increase in laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis was reported to National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) which was followed by investigations into the reported increase. On 05 December 2017, the listeriosis outbreak was declared by the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi.

The source of the outbreak was identified as ready-to-eat processed meat products manufactured at Enterprise Foods’ Polokwane production facility. A recall of affected products was initiated on 04 March 2018.

1,024 cases have been reported from 01 January 2017 to 24 April 2018. The number of reported cases has decreased since the implicated products were recalled on 04 March 2018.  Neonates ≤28 days of age are the most affected age group, followed by adults aged 15 – 49 years of age. Most cases have been reported from Gauteng Province (59%,601/1 024), followed by Western Cape (13%, 128/1 024) and KwaZulu-Natal (7%, 73/1 024) provinces.  There are 200 reported deaths.

Whole-genome sequencing analysis has been performed on 521 clinical isolates to date. Of these, 85% (443/521) were identified as sequence type (ST) 6. The remaining isolates (15%, 83/521) represented 19 sequence types including, ST1, ST54, ST876, ST2, ST5, ST204, ST219. ST224, ST71, ST101, ST121, ST155, ST3, ST403, ST515, ST7, ST8 and ST88.

Whole genome sequencing has been performed on 595 food and environmental isolates. Of these, 13% (79/595) were identified as ST6. The remaining isolates (87%, 516/595) represented 26 sequence types, including ST20, ST1, ST121, ST5. ST321, ST9, ST155, ST2, ST3, ST87, ST120, ST378, ST101, ST108, ST2288, ST31, ST7, ST11, ST122, ST14, ST37, ST4, ST54, ST76 and ST88.

The Full Report: http://www.nicd.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Listeriosis-outbreak-situation-report-draft-_27April-2018_fordistribution.pdf

Johannesburg, South Africa – The offices of Richard Spoor Inc., Attorneys, LHL Attorneys Incorporated and Marler Clark commend Tiger Brands on its transparency in releasing Listeriatesting information to shareholders. Tiger Brands released a statement to shareholders on 25 April 2018 confirming the presence of the LST6 Listeria outbreak strain in its facilities and, as a result, the Enterprise facilities in Polokwane, Pretoria, and Germiston will remain closed until the problem is fixed.

According to Tiger Brands, “the purpose of this announcement is to update shareholders on the results of the independent laboratory re-testing which was carried out in respect of the presence of LST6 in the above samples.”

“This confirmation of what the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported that this outbreak of Listeria came from the Polokwane factory of Enterprise foods and what today’s statement amounts to is the acknowledgement by the company that indeed this outbreak does come from their factory,” said Lawyer Richard Spoor. “We look forward to working with Tiger Brands’ lawyers and insurers to find an equatble solution for its injured consumers,” added Spoor.

Zain Lundell of LHL Attorneys explained that Tiger Brands’ announcement regarding the results of its independent testing was very helpful in that it further demonsrated the causal link between Tiger Brands’ processed meat products and individuals who became ill or even died as a result of eating those processed meat products. He also noted that he hoped the recent announcement regarding Tiger Brands’ independent testing would result in a speedy and just settlement for individuals affected by the tragic Listeria outbreak.”

According to William Marler, of the US Food Safety Law Firm, Marler Clark, “Tiger Brands should be commended for its transparency with the government and the public, this will go far to restoring consumer confidence.”

Richard Spoor Inc., Attorneys and LHL Attorneys Incorporated have agreed to consolidate the two class actions brought by the two firms against Tiger Brands. The two firms, in partnership with Marler Clark, the leading US Food Safety Law Firm, currently represents 140 people affected by the outbreak. Attorneys are currently in the process of collecting medical records and epidemiological evidence related to the case.

As of April 20, 2018, there are 1019 laboratory confirmed Listeria cases in South Africa and almost 200 people have died. This is the largest Listeria outbreak in history. For more information, visit https://listeriaclassaction.co.za/

Greenbelt Greenhouse LTD of British Columbia, Canada is recalling all Greenbelt Microgreen products with the best before dates from 4/24/18 and 4/30/18 because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Greenbelt Microgreen products can be identified by the Greenbelt Microgreen label (which is purple & Green) on the lid of the plastic clamshells which is clear. The best before date can be found on the bottom left corner of the label above the UPC barcode.

The affected Greenbelt Microgreens brand microgreens were distributed to Whole Foods stores in Washington between 04/11/18 and 04/24/2018.

Brand Product Size UPC Codes
Greenbelt Microgreens Arugula Microgreens 75 g 8 90082 00012 4 Best Before:
4/24/18
4/30/18
Greenbelt Microgreens Broccoli Microgreens 75 g 8 90082 00016 2 Best Before:
4/24/18
4/30/18
Greenbelt Microgreens Fresh Microgreen Mix 75 g 8 90082 00041 4 Best Before:
4/24/18
4/30/18
Greenbelt Microgreens Sweet & Crunchy Microgreen Mix 75 g 8 90082 00006 3 Best Before:
4/24/18
4/30/18
Greenbelt Microgreens Spicy Microgreen Mix 75 g 8 90082 00000 1 Best Before:
4/24/18
4/30/18
Greenbelt Microgreens Pea Shoots Microgreens 100 g 8 90082 00023 0 Best Before:
4/24/18
4/30/18
Greenbelt Microgreens Sunflower Microgreens 100 g 8 90082 00030 8 Best Before:
4/24/18
4/30/18

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was the result of sampling program by Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) which revealed that the Broccoli Microgreen contained the bacteria. Due to the potential risk of contamination the company has ceased the production and distribution of all product as Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.