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FDA Warns Fruit Processor about Listeria Contamination

Jule's Foods Recalls Food Products for Possible Salmonella Contamination

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned California-based Simply Fresh Fruit saying that inspectors found listeria at the company’s processing facility in Vernon. According to a news report, investigators said they observed numerous violations of Current and Good Manufacturing Practice regulations, particularly in the area of cross-contamination. The letter also says the company issued a voluntary recall of a cut cantaloupe lot that was processed March 28 and packed March 29. That recall was also due to the product testing positive for listeria.

The California Department of Public Health posted a recall notice April 14 for cantaloupe and fruit mixes with cantaloupe — 23 products total — from Simply Fresh Fruit. The products were headed to schools, hospitals, restaurants, convention centers, hotels and catering companies. At the facility, three out of 100 swabs taken at the company’s “high- care processing room” tested positive. The FDA stated in the letter that the company would have 15 working days to respond with the steps they would take to correct the violations and to prevent them from happening in the future.

Listeria Dangers

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths occur nationwide as a result of listeriosis. In 2012, 831 foodborne outbreaks were reported to the CDC. During that year, there were four confirmed outbreaks and one suspected outbreak in the U.S. The worst listeriosis outbreak in U.S. history occurred in 2011 when 33 people died, 147 were sickened and one woman miscarried her child as a result of a listeriosis outbreak that was linked to the consumption of cantaloupe from a single farm.

Common symptoms of listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. Almost everyone who is diagnosed with listeriosis has what is known as “invasive” infection, which means the bacteria has spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms could also include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions. In pregnant women, infections could lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

Understanding Your Rights

If you have suffered a listeria infection as a result of eating contaminated food, you may be able to seek and obtain compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, cost of diagnostic testing, hospitalization, and pain and suffering. Be sure to get the medical attention you need right away. Report your illness to the local healthcare agency. Contact an experienced California food poisoning attorney who will fight for your rights and help hold the negligent parties accountable.

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