Food Recall Resource

Vegetable Recall Affects Green Giant and Trader Joe’s

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a vegetable recall of certain products grown and distributed by the prolific produce company, Growers Express.   The recall follows concern about Listeria contamination in one of their facilities.  Growers Express is one of the main producers for the well-known brand Green Giant.   They also grow, package, and ship vegetables for various store brands including Trader Joe’s and Food Lion.

If you purchase Green Giant vegetables from your fresh or frozen foods sections, read on to see if your favorite products are included in this latest recall.

Listeria Concerns Prompt Huge Vegetable Recall

According to a statement from Growers Express, the vegetable recall is an overwhelmingly cautious reaction to a single positive sample identified by the Massachusetts Department of Health.  The recall followed the positive identification of Listeria monocytogenes. 

The manufacturer says it will sanitize the factory and the equipment associated with possible Listeria contamination and will be back in production mode very soon.

The recalled products originate from a production facility in Biddeford, Maine.  Growers Express shipped the vegetables all over the Eastern seaboard and across the Midwest.  The FDA published a complete list of all states and distribution points that may have received the recalled vegetables.  Apparently, no canned vegetables carry the risk of Listeria contamination, nor do any other Growers Express products.

Vegetable Recall Details

The specific products that may be contaminated with Listeria can be identified based on their “best if used by” dates between June 26 and 29, 2019.  The recall specifically includes:

  • Green Giant Fresh:
    • Butternut Squash Cubes, Noodles, and Diced
    • Cauliflower Crumbles Fried Rice Blend
    • Ramen Soup Bowl
    • Sweet Potato Cauliflower Crumbles
    • Zucchini Noodles
  • Signature Farms Cauliflower Crumbles
  • Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Spirals
  • Trader Joe’s Zucchini Spirals

A fresh or frozen vegetable recall is certainly concerning to consumers.  A recall of products as trusted as Green Giant is especially so.  If you have purchased any of the products included in this recall, return them to the place of purchase for a refund.  Or, dispose of the products to avoid possible accidental contamination.

What are the Risks of Listeria Contamination?

Listeria are bacteria that can cause serious and potentially deadly infections.  It is especially dangerous in vulnerable populations like young children, elderly adults, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems.  Short-term symptoms of Listeria infection may include:

  • Severe headaches
  • High fever
  • Stiffness
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

Listeria infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.  In elderly adults and small children, Listeria infection can be deadly.

Risks to Pregnant Women and Babies

It would be hard to overemphasize how dangerous and devastating a Listeria infection can be for a pregnant woman.  Pregnant women are more susceptible to Listeria-associated illness because their immune systems are weaker during pregnancy.  The illness from Listeria contamination may manifest as only a mild sickness in the mother while consequences for the baby she is carrying can include:

  • Death (miscarriage or stillbirth)
  • Premature birth
  • An infection that proves fatal after birth

Risks to Adults with Weak Immune Systems

Other adults who have a significant risk of coming into contact with Listeria from a vegetable recall include:

  • Adults over the age of 60
  • AIDS patients
  • Chemotherapy patients
  • Diabetes patients
  • Adults who take medications that depress the immune system such as rheumatoid arthritis drugs
  • Organ transplant recipients

Sources of Listeria Contamination

Listeria bacteria occur naturally in soil, water, and animal waste.   Most of the time people contract Listeria infection due to consuming contaminated foods.  Unborn babies can contract Listeria infection from a contaminated food the mother eats, so pregnant women have cause to be especially careful to avoid Listeria infection.

The foods most likely to make people sick because of Listeria contamination are:

  •  Raw fruits and vegetables
  •  Improperly cooked meat
  •  Unpasteurized milk
  •  Foods made with unpasteurized milk
  •  Soft cheeses
  •  Hot dogs
  •  Deli meats

Groups of people who are vulnerable to serious Listeria infection should avoid eating the types of food that are most likely to contain bacteria.  The bacteria can survive refrigeration, and can even survive in the freezer.   There is no visible sign of Listeria, nor is there any smell.  Without laboratory testing, there is no way to tell if Listeria is lurking in your deli sandwich or vegetable bowl.  Therefore, for high-risk populations, avoiding high risk foods is best practice.

Avoid Listeria Infection with Conscientious Cleaning

One of the best ways to reduce the chances of contracting Listeria infection is by practicing good food safety and hygiene methods.  Consider the following recommendations:

  • Always wash hands in hot soapy water after touching high risk foods
  • Wash utensils, surfaces, and dishes in hot and soapy water
  • Wash raw vegetables and fruit with a brush under running water
  • Cook meat and eggs thoroughly.  Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.

Good cleaning practices can certainly reduce the risk of developing a variety of foodborne illnesses.  Sadly, it is sometimes not enough to completely prevent the risk of infection.

Have You Developed Listeria Infection from Products in a Vegetable Recall?

There is a reason Growers Express acted so decisively in issuing a vegetable recall.  The company is likely spending millions of dollars and urging consumers to throw away hundreds of thousands of pounds of vegetables.  The reason is simple – liability.

The Listeria bacteria discovered by the Massachusetts Department of Health may harm consumers.  The company will then be liable for any illnesses or deaths associated with consuming the contaminated vegetables.  Smart companies issue a recall as soon as there is a reason for concern.  Sadly, recalls are often initiated because consumers experience harm, rather than preventing harm.

If you or someone you love is battling Listeria infection, call Bad Food Recall to find out more about your legal rights and options.  You may be able to hold Growers Express liable for your medical bills, lost income, or pain and suffering.  Our food safety lawyers can help you determine the best course of action.

Request a free consultation by calling 1-877-534-5750, or contact us online.



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