New Listeria Scare Prompts Recall of Hawaii Pork

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) just announced the recall of about 4,535 pounds of pork products in Hawaii because they might be contaminated with <"">Listeria monocytogenes. Palama Holdings LLC of Kapolei, Hawaii, initiated the recall over concerns that its fully cooked pork products might be tainted with the Listeria bacterium.

The recall involves 16-ounce bags of “May’s Hawaii Kalua Brand Pork, Fully Cooked, Smoke Flavor Added.” The bags of May’s Hawaii Kalua Brand Pork were available for retail purchase and indicate a “freeze-by” date of “9/17/08.” Also included in the recall are 10-pound cases of “May’s Kalua Brand Pork.” Each of these cases has a date code of “21708” and a case code of “325469” indicated. The 10-pound cases each containing two five-pound packages and were packaged for food service use. The Palama Holdings pork products were distributed to Hawaii food service and retail establishments on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu.

Listeriosis is a type of food poisoning generated by Listeria monocytogenes and is particularly dangerous to the elderly, pregnant women, newborns, those with chronic medical conditions, people with HIV, or those undergoing chemotherapy. Most experience mild flu-like symptoms—fever, muscle aches, nausea, or diarrhea. In serious cases, the disease spreads to the nervous system, causing headaches, stiff neck, and convulsions. In pregnant women, Listeriosis can result in miscarriage or stillbirth. Listeria lives in soil, stream water, sewage, plants, and food and can easily contaminate dairy and beef products. Because Listeria thrives in the cold, refrigerated food products provide an ideal environment for the germ.

We have long been reporting on the rash of food borne contaminations from Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli, Salmonella, and Botulism, to name a few. Part of the reason such illnesses are on the rise, is this country’s outdated and under-funded food-surveillance system that has become overwhelmed by the emergence of mega-farms, -distribution centers, and -transporters. Meanwhile, just last week, the FSIS announced that individually packaged ready-to-eat chicken and turkey sandwiches, manufactured by DBC, Inc.—which also does business as World Class Canapés—were recalled over similar Listeria contamination concerns discovered through microbiological sampling. According to state officials, the sandwiches may have been sold in up to 18 Roche Brothers and Sudbury Farms in eastern Massachusetts.

Late last month Vita Nova Salmon was recalled over concerns about Listeria contamination. Earlier in July wild Alaskan smoked salmon nova lox distributed in a wide variety of states by Salmolux Inc. of Federal Way, Washington, was recalled, also over concerns of potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination. And, this year alone, Listeria has been the focus of numerous outbreaks, including products from Fresca Italia, Whittier Farms, Sea Tac, J&B Meats, Meijer Inc., Chang Farms, Gourmet Boutique, Bright Waters, R&R Alsatian Sausage and Products; Amish Macaroni Salad; Supreme Cuts, Stop and Shop, Piney Ridge Dairy, and Clark and Elaine Duncan’s Farm, to name some. Also, Hope Food Supply Inc. was ordered to shut down and immediately recall all products manufactured from its Texas facility since 2007 due to possible food contaminant risks following its failure to follow a previous consent decree.

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