Listeria Onion Scare Prompts More Food Recalls

Listeria-tainted onions are prompting even more recalls, according to announcements made by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Earlier this week, we wrote that the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced recalls implemented by GH Foods CA, LLC; Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.; LSG Sky Chefs (Orlando, Florida); and Huxtable’s Kitchen (Vernon, California). Those recalls, and the following, were all initiated over recalls made by Gills Onions, LLC of Oxnard, California prompted by concerns its produce may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

In all cases, consumers in possession of the recalled products should not consume the food and should destroy or discard the potentially contaminated products. Gills Onions Customer Service can be reached, toll-free, at 888-220-0436. The firm’s web site should be updated with recall information and can be accessed at

Although no illnesses have been reported in connection with these onions, as we’ve long explained, the Listeria pathogen is unique because it tends to thrive in colder temperatures, such as those found in refrigerated environments, which can extend the life of the produce. Listeria also has an unusually long incubation period—up to 70 days, according to experts—and well tolerates heat and dry temperatures, adding further challenges to the pathogen’s eradication and length to expected reporting time frames.

Golden Corral Tartar Sauce, Dickey’s BBQ Bean Sauce, Lee’s Cole Slaw Dressing, Fatz Tartar Sauce, Ken’s Tartar Sauce
Ken’s Foods has initiated this recall since these items contain onions from Gills Onions. On Friday, July 27, 2012, Ken’s Foods, Inc. notified all distribution centers, private label customers. and brokers to request immediate withdrawal of these recalled items, which were distributed to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin. Ken’s Foods, Inc. can be reached, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST) at 1.508.229.1100, extension 4727 or 1190. The recall involves the following, specific products:

  • KE0666-Ken’s Tartar Sauce: 4 1-gallon containers, Mfg. 09/JUL/12
  • KE0666A5-Ken’s Tartar Sauce: 100 1.5-ounce cups, Exp. 011313
  • DI2063-Dickey’s BBQ Bean: 10 48-ounce pouches, Use By 11MAR13
  • GD2517-Golden Corral Tartar: 4 1-gallon containers, Mfg. 17/JUL/12
  • FQ2103-Lee’s Cole Slaw: 14 40-ounce pouches, Mfg. 23JUL12
  • FD0666-Fatz Tartar Sauce    :4 1-gallon containers, Mfg. 23/JUL/12

Publix Super Markets
Publix Super Market is recalling custom sub sandwiches that contain sliced Gills Onions and that were sold from the Publix Deli department from July 7, 2012 through July 26, 2012 in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. “As part of our commitment to food safety, potentially impacted product has been removed from all store shelves,” said Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director. “Consumers who have purchased the products in question may return the product to their local store for a full refund.” Publix Customer Care Center can be reached, toll-free, at, or at the firm’s web site at

Garden-Fresh Foods
This recall involves various ready-to-eat salads, slaw, salsa, bean, and dip products sold under various brands and code dates; a complete list can be accessed here. The products may contain onions from Gills Onions. Products are sold in various size containers (8-ounce to 8-pound packages) and distributed to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and California. Consumers in possession of these products are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Garden-Fresh Foods can be reached, toll-free, at 1.800.645.3367, from Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Spartan Stores, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Spartan Stores is recalling its Three Bean Salad (Deli Department) and 10-Ounce Broccoli Stir Fry (Produce Department) because the items contain onions produced by Gills Onions. All of the products involved in the recall should be discarded or returned for a full refund or replacement. Spartan Stores’ Consumer Affairs can be reached, toll-free, at 1.800.451.8500.

Listeria monocytogenes can lead to the listeriosis infection, a potentially fatal disorder that can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhea, and nausea, especially in those with weakened immune systems, infants, and the elderly. Vulnerable populations, such as the developing fetus, can suffer serious central nervous system problems. The infection can also prompt premature births, or the death of the fetus via miscarriage and stillbirth; pregnant women are 20 times likelier to become infected. Listeriosis can lead to hearing loss or brain damage in newborns, and to neurological effects and cardio respiratory failure in adults.

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