Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Listeriosis & The Lettuce Recall: A Biochemist Explains It All" By Rev. Barbara Sexton "The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"

ABOVE: Front & Back of Recalled chopped Romaine LETTUCE sold by retailers to the public at Unified Grocers, Inc. Cash & Carry Smart Food Service stores in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The product at those outlets was packed in True Leaf Farms cardboard cartons. All bags carry a "use by date" of 9/29/11. This product was labeled as follows:
  • 2# bags, chopped romaine- Bag and box code B256-46438-8 
Dear Ones:
     You can read the manufacturer's own recall statement here if you are interested:
LINK: http://www.churchbrothers.com/recall/True%20Leaf%20Farms%20Release.pdf
     I will 'break it down for you'...along with the FDA and CDC information available to us thus far.
      Here is the current, accurate information you need to help protect the health and well-being of yourself and your loved ones.
     Recently, both cantaloupe and now LETTUCE has been recalled due to contamination with the bacteria known as Listeria monocytogenes (pronounced: list-TEAR-ee-ah  mah-no-sye-TAHGE-en-eeze).
    Here is the latest FDA recall list in an easy-to-view format for both the melon and LETTUCE:
LINK: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm
(NOTE:  If any of these FDA/government LINKS do not work directly, just copy and paste them into your browser to access.) 
     As this is being written, no actual illnesses have been reported as being linked to the True Leaf Farm brand LETTUCE found to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes
LINK:  http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm274075.htm
     BUT, while the original LETTUCE recall was limited to Oregon, Washington and Idaho, per the FDA, now as of Sept 29, 2011, the recall notification is EXPANDED to cover product shipped to 19 states (highlighted below and CANADA):
"September 29, 2011- True Leaf Farms is expanding its voluntary recall of romaine to include 2,498 cartons of chopped or shredded romaine because of the potential of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The initial recalled product was shipped between September 12 and 13 to a retail food service distributor in Oregon who further distributed it to at least two additional states, Washington and Idaho.
At the request of the US Food and Drug Administration the recall notification is expanded to cover additional product shipped to wholesale food service distributors in 19 states and Alberta, Canada. The states include Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Vermont. All the romaine affected by this recall has a "use by date" of 9/29/11.
No illnesses related to this finding have been reported."
      True Lead Farms is 'the processing arm' of Church Brothers, LLC.  They process LETTUCE  under the following brand names under 'Church Brothers':
True Leaf, Red Coach, Jin Ye, Hop Sing & Private Labels.
     Under 'True Leaf', the Church Brothers, LLC sell under the following brand names: True Leaf, Church Brothers, Leaf Tek & Private Labels.
LINK:   http://churchbrothers.com/content/?page_id=851
     Besides chopped Romaine LETTUCE, Church Brothers, LLC also processes and packages: Broccoli, lettuce, Red leaf, Butter, Baby Heads, Spinach, Endive, Escarole, Cauliflower, Celery, Green Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Bok Choy, Nappa Cabbage, Green Onions, Cilantro, Parsley, Italian Parsley, Kale & 'Specialty Items'.
LINK:  http://churchbrothers.com/content/?page_id=128
     A comprehensive  government page for Listeria and listeriosis can be found here:
LINK:  http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/listeria/index.html
     A general page on Listeria and listeriosis on the CDC website is below:
LINK:  http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/listeria/
     Please do take the time to read as much of the 'original sources' as you can.  (AGAIN: copy and paste any of the links here if they do not take you to the desired page directly.)
     But for your convenience and edification, these are Rev. Barb's recommendations at the present time regarding this Church Brothers, LLC Listeria romaine LETTUCE contamination:
1)  Absolutely avoid any and all chopped romaine LETTUCE 'processed' by Church Brothers, LLC/True Leaf until the full extent of this contamination is definitively determined.

2)  Check the 'brand names' of all the produce you buy against 'brand name lists' published on the FDA and CDC websites and here ABOVE at www.DearOnesHealingMinistry.blogspot.com/  Check back here regularly for UPDATES on this LETTUCE situation, as well as for articles on the cantaloupe contamination, as well.

3)  Even if your state is not listed above, be aware that not all distributions patterns of this fresh produce have necessarily been determined, let alone revealed to the public.

4)  Although NO ILLNESSES TO DATE have been associated with this chopped Romaine lettuce contaminated with Listeria, maintain a 'high index of suspicion' until the full epidemiological study is completed for this FDA Recall.  Be sure to see your health care provider IMMEDIATELY if you suspect that you may have a food-related illness and/or symptoms of the same.  DO NOT DELAY, especially with the young, the old and with those who are immunocompromised.

5)  Although, to date, only chopped Romaine LETTUCE from Church Brothers, LLC/True Leaf Farms has been determined to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, be aware that their other products MAY also be contaminated.  See the yellow highlighted list of vegetables above. 

6)  Since we, the consumer, does not know exactly what Church Brothers, LLC/True Leaf Farms' 'Specialty Products' are, be wise when you purchase your produce and take care to know determine the source of the food you and your family and friends eat.

7)  Although only RETAIL chopped Romaine LETTUCE is implicated in this Listeria Recall so far, be wary of 'bulk salad and vegetable' points of purchase, such as at 'salad bars' and in restaurants and other food-selling facilities.  Use your COMMON SENSE, but also check online frequently using the LINKS you have been provided with here.

8)  In this day-and-age of questionable food safety, take care to wash and scrub the vegetables and fruits you can (I prefer warm watch and dish detergent followed by a strong water rinse)...And to give a good 'soaking and rinsing' for those that cannot be 'scrubbed'.  Please note that with Listeria, it is possible that the 'inside' can be contaminated, so that even a good scrubbing on the outside will not necessarily assure consumer safety.  Chopped Romaine LETTUCE has it's own particular set of problems sanitation-wise, since it cannot be scrubbed, subjected to too-warm water and it has the further 'detriment' of having been handled more than the intact stalk of Romaine would be.  In addition, the 'chopping process' greatly increases the available surface area for potential bacterial contamination wherever pathogenic bacteria are present.

9) Finally, it is prudent to 'rotate food'.  In other words, try not to eat the same thing day-after-day, even if the food you are eating will be prone to spoiling before you can finish it.  "Greens" nowadays can be every bit as deadly when contaminated as the rawest of meats and other foodstuffs capable of causing food-poisoning.
     Hopefully, this Listeria contamination source will be swiftly identified and dealt with.
     But, until then, stay alert and informed.  If you would like to receive Rev. Barb's FREE NEWSLETTER so that you can receive timely health alerts right in your mailbox, just see the sign-up area below.
God Bless & Keep You & All Of Us
Rev. Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"
www.DearOnesHealingMinistry.blogspot.com

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