Listeria Tainted Popsicles Recalled in Washington, Oregon

Listeria-tainted popsicles are the latest food to be recalled because of the food-borne bug. Ca Rem #1 Ice Cream, SeaTac voluntarily recalled its coconut-flavored popsicles after it was discovered that the non-dairy frozen dessert may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  The frozen treat recall was initiated when routine sampling and analysis by the Washington State Department of Agriculture revealed the presence of <"">Listeria.  No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this product.

The Ca Rem #1 Popsicle is sold in 3-ounce un-coded plastic bags, primarily in Asian food markets and restaurants in western Washington and western Oregon.  Consumers who have purchased Ca Rem #1 popsicles should throw out the product and not eat it.  Questions can be directed to the company at 206-720-1887.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.  Although considered relatively rare, Listeriosis outbreaks have been associated with consuming unpasteurized or raw milk, contaminated soft cheeses, vegetables, and ready-to-eat meats. The Listeria bacterium is found in soil and water and animals can carry the bacterium without appearing ill, contaminating foods of animal origin such as meats and dairy products.  The bacterium has been found in processed foods that become contaminated after processing, such as soft cheeses and deli counter cold cuts.

The disease typically affects pregnant women, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems, Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea.  If infection spreads to the nervous system, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur.

As a general rule, do not consume unpasteurized milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk.  Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources and wash raw vegetables before consuming them.  Wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods and consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods immediately.  For those at increased risk, do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats, unless they are reheated until steaming.  Do not allow fluid from hot dog packages to contaminate other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces; wash hands after handling hot dogs, luncheon meats, and deli meats.  Do not eat soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, and Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, or Mexican-style cheeses such as queso blanco, queso fresco, and Panela, unless their labels clearly state they are made from pasteurized milk.  Do not eat refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads; however, canned or shelf-stable pâtés and meat spreads may be eaten.  Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, unless it is contained in a cooked dish, such as a casserole.  Refrigerated smoked seafood—salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel—is usually labeled “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” “smoked,” or “jerky”; canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood may be eaten.

Listeria has been the focus of a number of outbreaks in recent months, including at least three cases in North Carolina which appeared to be linked to soft cheeses from a variety of sources and the outbreak at the Whittier Farms dairy in Massachusetts where three people died and more were sickened from consuming products produced at the dairy.

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