- Department of Public Health
Media Contact for Massachusetts Department of Public Health investigation triggers multistate voluntary recall of some packaged vegetables due to Listeria concerns
Ann Scales, Director of Media Relations
BOSTON — The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a Maine-based company has voluntarily recalled some of its packaged vegetables over concerns about possible contamination with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, following food product testing conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).
Out of an abundance of caution, the manufacturer, Growers Express, said it was recalling packaged varieties of fresh vegetable products, including butternut squash, cauliflower, zucchini, and a butternut squash-based veggie bowl sold under the brand names Green Giant Fresh, Growers Express, Signature Farms, and Trader Joe’s. The FDA released a list of the stores and states affected, which includes stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut.
The possible contamination was discovered in packaged vegetables purchased during surveillance activities conducted by the DPH Food Protection Program (through the FDA-funded Rapid Response Team in DPH’s Working Group for Foodborne Illness Control). Testing completed on Thursday, June 27, by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in a bag of Green Giant Fresh Zucchini Noodles purchased at a Massachusetts Stop & Shop. The FDA announced the company’s voluntary recall on Monday, July 1.
``This case illustrates the benefits of public health and private industry working together to protect our food supply and prevent the possible spread of illness,’’ said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. ``I applaud Growers Express for taking immediate steps to issue the voluntary recall to protect consumers.”
Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, and nausea. It can also result in miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and people with HIV infection or those undergoing chemotherapy. If any of the described symptoms are exhibited, people should seek medical attention.
To date, DPH has received no reports of illness associated with this product. DPH is conducting follow-up testing of the product to confirm the scope of the contamination.
This is the second time in as many years that a DPH investigation has initiated a multistate food recall. Last year, DPH disease investigators traced a rare strain of Salmonella to frozen shredded coconut, prompting the FDA and the distributor to issue a multistate recall. DPH discovered the unusual Salmonella strain while investigating a single case of Salmonella.