Since Oct. 16, news outlets have reported at least 13 recalls of readymade foods such as salads, sandwiches, wraps, pizza and burritos because of potential salmonella and listeria contamination. All of these foods have been traced to a single plant owned by McCain Foods in Colton, California, which processes, cooks and freezes vegetables for distribution to other food producers.
To date, nearly 4 million pounds of foods sold under a number of different brand names have been recalled. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has indicated that more product recalls will likely be announced. Experts say this is an example of how just one food processing plant can cause such a widespread problem because it’s how our complex food system works. So, if a bit of tainted corn or onion gets in a burrito, an entire batch of burritos has to be recalled. So far, no one has reported any illnesses as a result of these contaminated foods.
What’s Being Recalled?
The recalled products produced at the McCain plant includes fire-roasted, caramelized, or sautéed frozen fruit and vegetables most of which are not directly sold to consumers but to food companies for use in their products. After a link was established between products distributed from the McCain plant and the contaminated foods, the first related recall was issued by Prime Deli Corporation on Oct. 16 involving 217 pounds of salad with corn that was possibly contaminated with listeria or salmonella.
Over the next few days, we saw that a host of other foods from burritos and wraps to stuffed baked potatoes, pizza, premade burgers and breakfast items were recalled because they possibly contained contaminated ingredients such as caramelized mushrooms, fire-roasted tomatoes, onions, tomatillos and more. This may have happened when different vegetables were being processed at the McCain plant with the same equipment. This recall affected several retailers nationwide include Trader Joe’s, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, 7-Eleven, Hy-Vee and Kroger.
What Can You Do?
If you have these foods in your freezers or refrigerators, it would be best to discard them or return them to the store for a refund. If you have become sick after consuming one of these products, isolate and preserve the leftover contaminated food so it can be tested in a lab for pathogens. The FDA says even thorough cooking might not kill these bacteria. So, it’s best not to consume them. If you are experiencing symptoms of food poisoning such as diarrhea, vomiting, muscle aches or fever, it is important that you get prompt medical attention. Call an experienced California food poisoning attorney who can give you more information about pursuing your legal rights.