Massive sunflower kernel and sunflower seed supplier SunOpta recently once again expanded its own recalls of sunflower seeds and sunflower kernels potentially contaminated with Listeria monocytotogenes, leading smaller companies such as Earnest Eats with no choice but to do the same.

Indeed, the distributor and suppliers’ expanded recall has brought with it the expected cascade of new or expanded secondary or even tertiary recalls, and the Earnest Eats recall marks just one of many announcements that have already been made – or are expected to be made in coming days – that find their roots in the giant SunOpta recall.

Dark Chocolate Almond Chewy Granola Bars Recalled Due to Potential Listeria Contamination

California company Earnest Eats announced a voluntary recall of specific lots of Earnest Eats Dark Chocolate Almond Bars 6.2 oz. cartons.

Management was forced to weigh the possibility that one or more bars might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes when making the decision whether or not to recall the candy bars. Ultimately, cautious minds prevailed. The company states in its recall notice that it would “like to reassure all of [its] customers that [it] has not received any reports of consumers being affected by illness to date.”

SunOpta, sunflower seed supplier to the Solana Beach candymaker and hundreds of other companies nationwide, notified Earnest Eats that there was “a possibility that some sunflower kernels” from the supplier “may be contaminated with Listeria,” the voluntary recall notice explains.

Only one Earnest Eats’ product – 5 ct. cartons of 6.02 oz. Dark Chocolate Almond Chewy Granola Bars – was implicated by the SunOpta Listeria contamination and recall issues; the company stresses that no other Earnest Eats products are affected.

Description and Distribution of Earnest Eats’ Recalled Chocolate Granola Bars

The details with respect to the single recalled product, which was distributed online and to retail stores nationwide between March 1st and June 17th, 2016 are as follows:

6.02 oz. Dark Chocolate Almond Chewy Granola Bars, best before 29APR17 and with one of the following three Product UPC Codes:

  • 891048001636 (single bars sold only in 5-count cartons)
  • 891048001667 (5-count carton)
  • 891048001674 (12-count master corrugated case)

Earnest Eats then follows the recalled product information with detailed return instructions for company customers. Those in possession of the dark chocolate almond bars(s) are divided into three categories: consumers, retailers, and distributors.

Appropriate Method of Product Disposition Determined by Buyer Size

The company issuing the recall prescribes a different mechanism for getting rid of the potentially contaminated chocolate goodies depending on which category the buyer falls into:

  • Distributors that purchased recalled product should inventory and destroy the product, and subsequently provide the company with “an accounting of all product destroyed with lot codes and proof of destruction.”
  • Retailers are instructed to return any recalled product purchased “to their original supplier for credit,” or, in the alternate, arrange credit with their supplier and destroy the product “in a manner that makes it unfit for eating.”
  • Consumers may return affected product to the point-of-purchase for a full refund and are, par for the recall course, “urged not to consume the product and to dispose” of any recalled bars, again “ensuring product is destroyed in a manner that makes it unfit for eating.”

Listeria monocytogenes

Despite the inclination to ignore any advice to throw away goods potentially contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes – after all, pretty much every item in the store seems to have been recalled due to potential Listeria contamination over the past two months or so – consumers should heed the advice of public health officials and of the companies recalling their products.

Listeria, which may cause only mild to moderate flu-like illness in most healthy adults, poses a severe threat to young children (who often enjoy chocolate and/or granola), the elderly, people with immune systems that have already otherwise been compromised. These individuals usually experience symptoms including stiff neck, convulsions, confusion, loss of balance, and fever and muscle aches.

In addition, the bacteria poses unique risks for for pregnant women, who may experience miscarriage or stillbirth as a result of infection with the bacteria. Infection during pregnancy may also lead to premature delivery and/or life-threatening infection of the newborn child.

The attorneys of Ron Simon & Associates have helped hundreds of people with foodborne illness get in their search for answers, justice and compensation. If you or a family member have been affected by food poisoning, please fill out our case evaluation form or call us toll-free at 1-888-335-4901 for your free case evaluation.