Pinnacle Foods Canada has issued a voluntary recall for Aunt Jemima brand of foods, particularly the Frozen Waffles and Frozen French Toast Slices, due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The brand’s syrup and dry mixes are not included in the recall.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning retailers, distributors, and food service establishments to stop selling or use the products included in the recall list. The U.S. Food and Drug Agency has the complete list of products that are part of the recall. Consumers who have the said products in their home should throw them out or return it to the store they got it from and get a full refund. Those who have concerns should call Pinnacle Foods 1-888-299-7646.
Pinnacle Foods said in a statement that the decision to recall was done as a “precautionary measure given the health and safety of our consumers is our top priority.” Listeria monocytogenes contamination was suspected after testing conducted on the plant environment indicated the presence of the bacteria. Pinnacle Foods is letting consumers know that it is working with the FDA regarding the recall. So far, no illnesses related to the possible contamination have bee reported.
Foods contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes do not usually look spoiled or smell bad. However, it can cause serious illness in people who consumed contaminated food items, with symptoms including nausea and vomiting, muscle aches, persistent fever, neck stiffness and severe headache. Infections by the bacteria can, at times, affect other parts of the body, which include joints, bones, abdomen and some areas in the chest.
Young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are most susceptible to the illness. Infected women may experience mild symptoms that resemble flu but Listeria infection can affect the newborn’s health and may also result in stillbirth or premature delivery. In severe cases, people could die from the illness.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 1,600 people will contract listeria infection or listeriosis. In the 1990s, Listeria infection outbreaks were linked to hot dogs and deli meats. Now, contamination is linked to produce and dairy products.
Other foods commonly contaminated by Listeria include meat spreads, unless they are canned, frozen and manufactured to become shelf-stable. Raw or undercooked poultry, meat, and fish can also become a haven for the bacteria to grow in. Cheeses that have been contaminated with Listeria include blue-veined cheese, brie, and Camembert.
Refrigerated fish or seafood can also be harmful if not stored in the refrigerator properly. Safer options include going for shelf-stable, canned, frozen smoked and fully cooked fish or seafood products.
People who contract listeriosis are usually given antibiotics to treat the infection. If a person is suspected of listeriosis, he or she should seek medical advice immediately. Reporting about the possible illness promptly is important, especially for patients who belong to the pregnant, juvenile and elderly groups.
For those who have possibly eaten food items contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes but don’t exhibit the common symptoms, most medical experts believe that medical tests and treatments are unnecessary.
A vaccine to prevent listeriosis does not exist so it’s up to people to observe safety measures to prevent the illness. One can reduce the risk of contracting Listeria monocytogenes infection by practicing food hygiene, especially when dealing with frozen cuts. Listeria is not like most bacteria, in which it can survive and thrive in cold temperatures.
The bacteria, however, can be killed if food is cooked thoroughly and properly. In the case of deli meats, they should be heated before eating. Observing proper handwashing techniques is also of great help to prevent contamination.
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