A total of 36 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from 17 states.
Listeria specimens from ill people were collected from November 23, 2016, to December 13, 2019. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 to 96 years, with a median age of 67. Fifty-eight percent of ill people were female. Of 33 ill people with information available, 31 hospitalizations were reported. Four deaths were reported from California (2), Hawaii, and New Jersey. Six cases were pregnancy-associated, with two resulting in fetal loss.
Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence showed that enoki mushrooms supplied by Green Co. LTD, located in the Republic of Korea, were the likely source of this outbreak.
In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the month before they became ill. Twelve out of 22 (55%) reported eating mushrooms, including enoki, portobello, white, button, cremini, wood ear, maitake, and oyster.
FDA and state officials collected enoki mushrooms for testing. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development collected enoki mushrooms from a grocery store where an ill person shopped and identified the outbreak strain in two samples. These mushrooms were labeled as “Product of Korea” and were distributed by Sun Hong Foods, Inc. On March 9, 2020, Sun Hong Foods, Inc. recalledexternal icon enoki mushrooms. The California Department of Public Health collected enoki mushrooms from grocery stores and identified the outbreak strain in one sample. These mushrooms were labeled as “Product of Korea” and were distributed by Guan’s Mushroom Co. On March 23, 2020, Guan’s Mushroom Co. recalledexternal icon enoki mushrooms. FDA collected samples of enoki mushrooms for testing at import from Green Co. LTD of the Republic of Korea. On April 6, 2020, results showed that two samples yielded the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes. As a result, on April 7, 2020, FDA placed Green Co. LTD on Import Alertexternal icon and H&C Foods Inc.external icon recalled enoki mushrooms supplied by Green Co. LTD.
On March 18, 2020, the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety published its investigation findings and steps it will take to prevent future illnesses. It found Listeria monocytogenes in enoki mushrooms produced by two firms in the Republic of Korea.
The following states reported illnesses:
Arizona – 2
California – 9
Florida – 2
Hawaii – 3
Indiana – 1
Kentucky – 1
Maryland – 2
Massachusetts – 2
Michigan – 1
Missouri – 1
New Jersey – 1
New York – 4
North Carolina – 1
Rhode Island- 1
Tennessee – 1
Virginia – 3
Washington – 1
Listeria: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $800 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as lettuce, polony, deli meat, cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.
If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Listeria attorneys for a free case evaluation.