The Food and Drug Administration has issued a recall of breakfast sandwiches that contain cheese, eggs, and sausages from coffee giant Starbucks due to fears of Listeria contamination.
According to a report from KTLA, the recall was done after a routine testing at the production facility where the sandwiches are made tested positive for the presence of Listeria bacteria. The sandwiches possibly made contact with the surface where the bacteria was found. The FDA issued a statement on their website:
“Progressive Gourmet Inc. of Wilmington, MA, is recalling its 6 ounce packages of Sausage, Egg, and Cheddar Cheese on English Muffin breakfast sandwiches manufactured for Starbucks Coffee Co. out of the abundance of caution because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.“
The entire announcement can be found here.
Progressive Gourment Inc. Issues Alert on Sausage Egg Cheese Muffin Because of Possible Health Risk: Progressi… https://t.co/Ref19zS6Wg
— U.S. FDA (@FDArecalls) March 5, 2016
Reports say that the sandwiches are being sold at 250 Starbucks stores, but those that have been potentially contaminated have already been pulled out of stores. Starbucks locations that are affected by the FDA recall include branches in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. As reported by ABC 13, the sandwiches being recalled, which were packaged in clear plastic, were the ones dated, “Best Before: 07-AUG-2016,” sold on March 3 and March 4 to the locations mentioned.
— Healthy World (@HealthyWrld) March 8, 2016
A spokesperson for Starbucks made a statement to Fortune.
“One of our suppliers recalled a specific lot of the Sausage, Egg and Cheddar Breakfast sandwich because they detected Listeria monocytogenes on a food contact surface in their facility. The product itself has not tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.”
The spokesperson made it clear that the sandwiches are not the ones contaminated, but they may have been in contact with a contaminated surface. In addition, the spokesperson said that no other Starbucks products are at risk.
The FDA says that, as soon as Starbucks learned of the situation, they immediately took action and removed the products from shelves. They also assure that only the sandwiches from the aforementioned locations have been potentially contaminated.
Listeria is a type of organism that can cause serious, and sometimes even deadly, infections in those who have weak immune systems, such as children and the elderly. Reports also say that, when infected with Listeria, pregnant women can miscarry or have a stillborn baby. According to FoodSafety.gov, some of the symptoms of Listeria include diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, confusion, stiff neck, and fever. Antibiotics are given to patients suffering with the infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page for Listeria, there are around 1,600 cases of the infection and 260 deaths in the United States each year.
As of writing, there have been no illnesses reported in connection with the Starbucks sandwiches. However, Listeria’s incubation period is between three and 70 days, so symptoms may not immediately manifest in people who have been infected by the bacteria.
The manufacturer of the sandwiches for Starbucks, Progressive Gourmet, is said to be cooperating with the Massachusetts Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration as an investigation to find out the source of the bacteria continues.
Those who have bought potentially infected sandwiches from Starbucks locations are encouraged to return the product to where it was purchased and to receive a full refund. For those who have questions regarding the Starbucks recall, contact Progressive Gourmet from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST from Monday to Friday at 1-800-224-7630.