CRF Frozen Foods, which recently issued a massive recall of frozen vegetables and fruits after a nationwide listeria outbreak, is still trying to figure out what caused it all. According to Fortune.com, the company is working to reopen its processing plant in Pasco, Washington. A spokesman for the company has said CRF will focus on getting the necessary approvals to restart production rather than trying to find the source of the bacterial contamination that led to hundreds of thousands of pounds of frozen foods getting recalled.
The company’s products were connected to eight patients with listeria infections of whom two died. CRF ended up recalling more than 350 frozen food products that were sold under 42 different brand names under various nationwide retailers including Costco and Trader Joe’s. Experts say it is fairly common for the source of a listeria outbreak to go unfound. The pathogen is quite common and it doesn’t take much to affect a consumer.
Problems with the Plant
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected and found quite a few problems with the CRF Frozen Foods processing plant. Inspectors said the plant had several “unfavorable conditions” that do not allow proper cleaning and maintenance, which could be why the listeria outbreak occurred. Their findings included a chipped and cracked plastic shovel that was used to scoop up food. They also found chipped, cracked and missing pieces of plastic on the onion production line, knives that were used to remove unwanted pieces of onions that had initials etched on to them, and blue tape used to temporarily fix a racked metal place.
Responsibility of Food Producers
Food manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that the products they make are safe for consumers to eat. In cases where negligence on the part of the manufacturer causes or contributes to food borne illnesses or outbreaks, the manufacturer or producer can be held accountable. Those who have been affected by food poisoning related illnesses can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced California food poisoning attorney will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.