Gills Onions, LLC of Oxnard, California is recalling 2,360 pounds, of diced red onions with lot code 51RDA1A2119 and use-by-dates May 14, 15, and 17, 2012, over concerns the produce may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. According to Gills Onions, the recalled product is beyond its use-by-date, no illnesses have been reported in connection with this recall, and no other Gills Onions product is affected by this recall.
As we’ve long cautioned, it is important to bear in mind that the Listeria pathogen thrives in cold environments, such as refrigerators, and also has a fairly long incubation period—up to 70 days. Listeria also well tolerates heat and dry temperatures, adding further challenges to the pathogen’s eradication.
The recalled diced red onions were distributed directly from Gills Onions to retailers in Canada and retailers and foodservice distributors in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Idaho, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Arkansas, Ohio, Tennessee, New Jersey, Georgia, and Florida.
The recalled diced onions were sold at retail in a seven-ounce clear plastic clamshell labeled Gills Onions and also bear the May 17, 2012 use-by-date and lot code 51RDA1A2119 stamped on the UPC label. The UPC number in Canada is 643550 00045 0 and the UPC in the United States is 643550 00041 2. This number can also appear on other products, so it is important to refer to the lot code in order to identify the recalled product. Gills Onions advises anyone who has the recalled onion product in their possession to discard it.
Recalled onions sold to foodservice customers were packaged in five-pound clear plastic bags identified as Gills Onions Diced Red Onions, and stamped with an expiration date of May 14 or 15, 2012. Lot code 51RDA1A2119 is stamped on both the bag and the box.
This voluntary recall was prompted as the result of a routine, random test called for by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Gills Onions stated that it has notified all customers who received the recalled lot directly and requested that the recalled and expired produce be removed from commerce. Gills Onions also asked its direct customers to notify their customers of this recall. Gills Onions can be reached, toll-free, at 1.800.348.2255, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). The firm’s web site will be updated at www.gillsonions.com.
As we’ve written, the Listeria monocytogenes pathogen can lead to the listeriosis infection, which is a potentially fatal infection 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 prompt premature births, or the death of the fetus via miscarriages and stillbirths. Pregnant women are 20 times likelier to become infected. Listeriosis can also lead to hearing loss or brain damage in newborns, and can prompt neurological effects and cardio respiratory failure in adults.