No illnesses have been reported, but produce company Growers Express is taking no chances with your health.

By Maggie Seaver
July 02, 2019
greengiantfresh.com / amazon.com

Produce production company Growers Express has issued a voluntary recall on multiple fresh vegetable products due to potential contamination with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes out of its production facility in Biddeford, Maine.

A public recall announcement published by the FDA yesterday says one sample tested positive for Listeria by the Massachusetts Department of Health, and no Listeria-related illnesses have been reported. However, Growers Express is rightly acting under the better-safe-than-sorry mentality: "Growers Express takes issues of food safety seriously and is issuing a voluntary recall of select fresh vegetable products in an abundance of caution and in the interest of protecting its customers and end consumers." 

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Veggie products impacted by the recall—sold under the brands Trader Joe's, Green Giant Fresh, and Signature Farms—include certain varieties of fresh, packaged butternut squash, cauliflower, sweet potato, zucchini, rice bowls, and ramen bowls—including Trader Joe's popular butternut Squash Spirals and Zucchini Spirals, and Green Giant Fresh Cauliflower Crumbles "Fried Rice" Blend. (Note that Green Giant canned and frozen vegetable products aren't at risk of contamination.)

Retailers told to remove remaining, potentially hazardous products include Big Y Foods, Bozzutos, C&S, Food Lion, Four Seasons, Native Maine, Procacci, Ruby Robinson, Shaws, Stop & Shop, and Trader Joe's. "Most of the affected products are labeled with a 'Best If Used By' Date of June 26–June 29, 2019," according to the FDA statement. So if you have any of these packaged veggies in your fridge or freezer with those "Use By" dates, toss them. (Go here for a full list of recalled products.)

"The safety of our consumers is our first priority,” said Tom Byrne, President of Growers Express. “We self-reported the need for this recall to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and stopped production immediately after being notified of a single positive sample by the Massachusetts Department of Health. We are deep sanitizing the entire facility and our line equipment, as well as conducting continued testing on top of our usual battery of sanitation and quality and safety tests before resuming production."

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Listeria is a bacterium that can induce both minor, short-term symptoms in healthy individuals (including high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, according to the FDA); but it can also lead to more severe, sometimes fatal, infections in young children, elderly adults, or those with feeble immune systems, as well cause miscarriages among pregnant women. 

Remember, we have a lot of control over our own likelihood of getting food poisoning. To stay savvy about food safety, check out this guide for all the ways you can lower your risk of illness when shopping, storing, and cooking food at home. 

In the meantime, head to growersexpress.com/voluntaryrecall for updates.

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