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When making a purchase at the grocery store, you expect the label to say exactly what is in the food. Sometimes you may get more than what is on the label. Sometimes, that unlisted aspect is a dangerous bacterium – like in this Stuffed Pasta Listeria Recall.
Garland Ventures Ltd discovered such a situation and quickly initiated a voluntary recall on June 30, 2020. The Garland, Texas based company recalled 1,095 cases of their Five Cheese Stuffed Shells in tray due to potential contamination with the bad bug, Listeria monocytogenes.
The product, “Five Cheese Stuffed Shells” is packaged in an aluminum foil container with clear lid, holding 10.76 ounces of shells with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parsley. Only a small lot of product is subject to this recall so far. Though this may change as the investigation continues. The lot number F080SS/F090SS is marked on the bottom of the label. No other lots are subject to this recall at this time.
This single serving product can be microwaved in minutes. In fact, the packaging is microwave safe, allowing for the product to be popped in the microwave for a mere 3 to 4 minutes before consumption. Is that nuke time enough to kill Listeria monocytogenes? I would rather not find out. The product label clearly states that it is handled frozen and suggested to remain frozen or refreeze for your safety. Unfortunately, the potentially tainted product will not look spoiled and may not even taste spoiled, despite the infectious pathogens lurking within.
If you have suffered from listeriosis (the illness associated with Listeria monocytogenes infection) due to consuming contaminated food, you may need to consult with a Listeria lawyer. The Lange Law Firm, PLCC offers free consultations and can help you explore your legal options.
Lab Tests Reveal Bad Bug
These Five Cheese Stuffed Shells product samples were sent off to a certified laboratory, where testing revealed the presence of the bad bug, Listeria monocytogenes. But not before the potentially tainted pasta made its way into nationwide distribution.
Action was immediately taken after receiving the report. Production and distribution of product has been halted while additional testing and an investigation takes place.
Listeria is Serious Business
Listeria is a pretty nasty foodborne bug. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1,600 people in the United States fall ill with listeriosis each year. A whopping 260 Americans will die from this infection. This brings Listeria monocytogenes to the third leading cause of death related to foodborne illness.
Dairy products, like the cheese used in these Five Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells are common harbingers of this harmful bacteria. Other foods such as ready-to-eat deli meats, hot dogs, refrigerated pâtés, unpasteurized milk or dairy products, soft cheeses, refrigerated smoked seafood, and raw sprouts are also the usual suspects.
Listeriosis is a complicated illness. While listeriosis is categorized as infection with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, symptoms can vary from person to person and depends on the part of the body that is infected.
General symptoms include generic fever and diarrheal illness. Sometimes these symptoms are so mild the victim rides them out and the infection goes unreported. Oftentimes the symptoms are attributed to a stomach bug, which is a misnomer. Pregnant women often experience different symptoms and subsequent risk to their carried fetus. All other people will experience some combination of headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions. Fever and muscle aches are often present in most infected persons.
The more severe cases that require medical intervention pop up on the Health Department’s radar. These also include those where listeriosis is more invasive and leaves the intestinal tract, entering other parts of the body. These symptoms and complications are often life-threatening and deadly.
Certain groups are highest risk for infection and more severe symptoms. These groups include people who are pregnant, those over 65 years old, and people with a compromised immune system due to illness or medication.
So far there have been no reports of illness associated with this recall, though as time goes on this may change. It takes a little bit of time between consuming contaminated food and symptom onset.
Symptom onset also varies from person to person. More invasive listeriosis symptoms can begin anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks after consuming contaminated food. The CDC reports two extreme scenarios. Some may experience first onset of symptoms as late as 70 days after exposure, others could develop symptoms in as few as one day after exposure. After seeking appropriate medical attention, consider a free consultation with a Listeria lawyer. You may be able to recover compensation for suffering and medical expenses.
Pregnant women display listeriosis symptoms to a much milder extent. Symptoms may even be limited to only a fever. Flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches and fatigue may also occur. While the pregnant woman may experience lighter personal symptoms, listeriosis during pregnancy can have dire consequences for the fetus. Premature delivery, miscarriage, still birth, or life-threatening infection of the newborn baby after delivery are possible.
Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium. Like most bacterial infections, listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Depending on the individual and risk factors, a host of treatment options may be performed. Generally, an oral ampicillin or amoxicillin (if the patient has no allergies). However, if blood culture indicates a blood contamination, intravenous (IV) ampicillin and gentamicin are typically added. This IV treatment is generally administered anywhere from 14 to 21 days.
If you feel you have symptoms related to listeriosis illness and have consumed recalled product or another lot of this product, seek medical attention immediately – even if your symptoms are mild. Your diagnosis may help the investigation. Additionally, the Listeria Lawyers at The Lange Law Firm, PLLC can help you navigate through this difficult time.
By: Heather Van Tassell