From Our 2010 Archives
Year-End Flurry of Food Recalls, Illness
Sprouts, Parsley, Cilantro, Pastry, Cheese in Separate Recalls
By Daniel J. DeNoon
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
Latest Infectious Disease News
Dec. 28, 2010 -- A nationwide recall of curly parsley and cilantro is the latest in a year-end flurry of food warnings and outbreaks of food-borne illness.
In the two most serious of these outbreaks:
Parsley/Cilantro Recall -- Salmonella
In the latest recall, J&D Produce of Edinburg, Texas, has recalled its Little Bear brand curly parsley and cilantro. Tests of the products in Quebec, Canada and in Detroit detected salmonella contamination.
The items were packed from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6. According to the Associated Press, the company is also recalling other produce that came through its production lines on these dates: arugula, leeks, collards, curly mustard, gold beets, kale, green Swiss chard, plain mustard, plain parsley, kohlrabi, rainbow Swiss chard, mint, methi leaf, beets, daikon, red Swiss chard, turnips, turnip greens, and dill.
No known illnesses have yet been associated with this recall. J&D promises a full refund of any affected product.
Alfalfa Sprouts -- Salmonella
On Dec. 27, the FDA warned consumers not to eat Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts (a mix of alfalfa, radish, and clover sprouts) from Tiny Greens Organic Farm.
The preliminary results of a CDC/FDA investigation link many of the illnesses to sandwiches from Jimmy John's restaurant outlets. About half of the 89 cases reported as of Dec. 21 were in Illinois residents who ate at Jimmy John's. The restaurant has stopped putting sprouts on its sandwiches.
The sprouts were also distributed in 4-ounce and 5-pound containers to farmers markets, restaurants, and groceries in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and possibly other states in the Midwest.
Illnesses from salmonella with the same DNA fingerprint as the outbreak strain have been identified in Connecticut, Washington D.C., Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Pastries -- Staph Toxin
On Christmas Eve, the Lincolnwood, Ill., bakery Rolf's Patisserie recalled products made after Nov. 1, 2010.
The products include tiramisu, cakes, cobblers, decorated cookies, tarts, pastries, and pies (including pot pies). Because these foods are sold wholesale, they may be repackaged by retailers under various labels.
The foods contain toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus. Poisoning occurs from ingesting these toxins, not from Staph infection. Illness onset is usually within one to six hours after eating the contaminated food. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Severe cases are rare but may include headache, muscle cramps, and changes in blood pressure and pulse rate.
Whole Foods has removed the foods from its shelves. Included in the Rolf's recall are pre-assembled gingerbread houses sold in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
Also included in the recall are the following products sold by Whole Foods in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin:
Items sold in Bakery:
Items sold in Prepared Foods:
Soft Cheese Recall -- E. Coli
On Dec. 17, Sally Jackson Cheese of Oroville, Wash., recalled soft, raw milk cheeses made from cow, goat, and sheep milk. The cheeses were distributed nationwide.
The cow and sheep cheeses are wrapped in chestnut leaves, while the goat cheese is wrapped in grape leaves. They may have an outer wrapping of waxed paper.
The cheeses may have been the source of E. coli O157:H7 infections reported by Washington State and Oregon health authorities.
Whole Foods Market carried some of these cheeses. Some carry the Sally Jackson label, but others were simply wrapped in clear plastic and sold with a Whole Foods Market scale label.
E. coli o157:H7 infection can be dangerous. It causes diarrhea, often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults recover, the infection can cause kidney failure. Consumers who develop symptoms of E. coli infection should immediately seek medical care.
SOURCES: FDA news releases, Dec. 17, Dec. 24, and Dec. 27, 2010.FDA web site, accessed Dec. 28, 2010.CDC news release, Dec. 23, 2010.CDC web site, accessed Dec. 28, 2010.J&D Produce news release, Dec. 27, 2010.Little Bear Produce web site, accessed Dec. 28, 2010.