Several varieties of packaged and deli foods sold at Target and The Fresh Market have been recalled because of concerns of listeria contamination. Elevation Foods issued a recall of containers of Archer Farms brand and Freskët egg salads, tuna salad, and Thai lobster salad because the deli items may be contaminated with listeria monocytogenes. Listeria is a serious food safety concern, and consumers should be cautious about using these products.
Products at Risk for Listeria Contamination
Elevation Foods manufactured the potentially contaminated foods in their Knoxville facility on June 18, 2019. The products have a “best by” date of August 12, 2019. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urges all consumers who purchase these products to check their refrigerators or freezers for the potentially contaminated products. If you do have any of the products included in the recall, you should discard them or return them to the place of purchase.
Consumers should be on the lookout for:
- 12 oz plastic containers of Archer Farms Egg Salad with UPC 085239018682
- 32 oz plastic containers of Freskët Egg Salad, lot number W1906042
- 5 lb plastic containers of Freskët Tuna Salad, lot number W1906054
- 5 lb plastic containers of Freskët Thai Lobster Salad, lot number W1906041
- Archer Farms Deviled Egg Sandwich Half Sandwich with Bacon with UPC 220505000002
- Archer Farms Deviled Egg Sandwich on Multigrain with UPC 498780203566
The Fresh market also sold the potentially contaminated Thai lobster salad by the pound at their self-serve seafood bar in addition to the prepackaged containers listed above.
Elevation Foods distributed the recalled products to foodservice operators, retail warehouses, and grocery stores throughout the United States. These fresh products have not yet expired, and as a result, many consumers may have already eaten them or have them in their homes. Consequently, it will take time for the manufacturer to effectively remove all the contaminated products from the market.
Where did the Listeria Contamination Originate?
Elevation Foods identified the presence of listeria after three containers of egg salad tested by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services tested positive for the pathogen. At this time, the manufacturer has not named any specific source, and they may not be able to determine one.
Listeria is a type of bacteria that occurs naturally in soil and animal waste. Since the recalled products are made from a variety of ingredients, the bacteria could have come from improperly washed vegetables, contaminated egg shells, filth, or specks of soil. Listeria monocytogenes is resilient, and can survive and multiply in refrigerated conditions.
At this time, the FDA has no confirmed reports of illness in connection with the recalled products. That does not mean that these products are not dangerous. Listeriosis (listeria infection) symptoms can take time to become apparent. Furthermore, it takes time for adverse events reports to travel through reporting pathways and become available to the public.
Is Listeria Infection Dangerous?
Healthy adults exposed to listeria contamination may only experience short-term symptoms of food poisoning. These symptoms often include:
- Abdominal pain
Serious infections can sometimes be fatal among young children, elderly adults, and adults with compromised immune systems. Anyone who has eaten these products and starts to exhibit symptoms of food poisoning should certainly seek medical attention right away.
Listeria contamination is of particular concern to pregnant women because they are more susceptible to infection. During pregnancy, the immune system is depressed and infection can easily pass to the unborn baby. This can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. For this reason, it is generally a good idea for pregnant women to avoid deli meats and prepared foods from the deli section. Listeria thrives in a refrigerated environment and poses a significant risk to both of the woman’s own health and the life of her unborn child.
Please note it can take weeks for the symptoms of listeria infection to manifest. If you know you have consumed the recalled foods from Target or The Fresh Market, monitor your health closely in the coming days for the symptoms of listeriosis.
Why are Deli Foods and Lunch Meats Prone to Listeria Bacteria?
Listeria are particularly virulent bacteria at room temperature and refrigerated temperatures. Generally, the foods available in a deli section have been cooked at one point, but then have been kept at a refrigerated temperature. Cooking the food kills any listeria that may have been present in the raw ingredients, but at any time since the food has been refrigerated it is susceptible to listeria contamination. Once the bacteria contaminates the food, it spreads rapidly.
Tips to Avoid Listeria Contamination
Food poisoning is unpleasant for everyone. Avoid exposure to listeria and other foodborne pathogens by doing the following:
- Keep juice and fluids from hot dogs and lunch meat packages away from other foods, utensils, and food preparation services.
- Wash your hands after handling hot dogs, lunch meats, and deli meats.
- Discard any open packages of hot dogs after one week in the refrigerator.
- Discard any open packages of deli meats after 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
- Use a vegetable brush to scrub raw fruits and vegetables.
- Wash your hands after handling raw fruits and vegetables.
- Wash your hands after handling raw eggs.
- Avoid unpasteurized dairy products, including soft cheeses.
Concerned about Listeria Contamination?
Listeria contamination is certainly a concern for consumers. We all put our trust in manufacturers and retailers to do the right thing and make sure the products they sell are safe. Unfortunately, food contamination happens much more frequently than any of us would like to imagine.
As a consumer, you do have certain rights, however. If you are concerned about listeria contamination, or are ill due to a contaminated food, contact Bad Food Recall to learn more. You may have options to hold the at-fault party responsible. Call 1-877-534-5750 or reach out online to get started.