Listeria linked to Enoki Mushrooms: Multiple Food Poisoning Cases Traces to Enoki Mushrooms
Two Korean mushroom distributors have issued recall notices following product testing that revealed a potential listeria contamination linked to enoki mushrooms. The two distributors are Sun Hong Foods, Inc of Montebello, California and the other is Guan’s Mushroom Co of Commerce, California. Both companies have made official recall announcements and as is a standard public service, the Food and Drug Association (FDA) has published these to their website. The distribution of this product has been suspended.
The enoki mushroom, an esteemed food which grows in the northern mountain ranges of Japan, is a delicate shroom with long thin stems and tiny caps. Enoki generally come in bundles and in both cases associated with this recall the mushrooms were packaged in clear plastic bags and white cardboard boxes. Both suppliers advise that the enoki mushrooms were in 200g/7.5 oz packages and distributed in at least 8 states, collectively, including CA, TX, OR, WA, TX, IL, FL, PA and NY. Enoki mushrooms from Guan’s have UPC code: 859267007013 and package code 14-1. Sun Hong identifies the listeria linked packages of enoki mushrooms as having UPC 7 426852 625810. Regardless of enoki packages having these UPC codes or not, consumers are warned to not consume this product even if the mushrooms look and smell fresh. Consumers are advised to return or discard any enoki mushrooms in their possession, due to the possible listeria contamination.
Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne illness which can show up in many common foods. This disease inflicting bacteria, known simply as Listeria, can contaminate foods at any point in the garden to table process. Listeria can be in the soil, the water, or even the air in which a product is being gathered, packaged or prepped for consumption. Listeria is one of the most prevalent food-borne contaminates and makes thousands of consumers ill, annually, killing some. The most vulnerable population includes pregnant women and their new born babies, the elderly and immune compromised. Symptoms can include headaches, muscle-aches, fever, nausea and vomiting and general flu-like symptoms.
Practicing safe food handling is paramount in the avoidance of Listeria. For produce, specifically, there are some safety practices you should employ. Be sure to keep your refrigerator temperature under 40 degrees for starters. When preparing to eat produce, including enoki mushrooms, rinse thoroughly under running water. Produce that can be scrubbed, should be. After thorough cleaning be sure to dry fruits or vegetables with a clean cloth or paper towel. Be sure to clean all surfaces – wiping clean any excess soil or water remaining on surfaces. And, finally, wash hands thoroughly. Listeria will not always be avoidable but taking food hygiene seriously will mitigate cross-contamination as present in this latest outbreak of listeria linked to enoki mushrooms.