Reser’s expands recall over Listeria concerns

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 131 views 

Reser’s Fine Foods based in Beaverton, Ore., has expanded the recall of products manufactured at its Topeka plant to include beef, chicken and ham processed between Sept. 5 and Oct. 9 due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.

This is the third time the company has voluntarily expanded its recall of products manufactured at the plant. The company first issued the recall on Oct. 22 and expanded it on Oct. 26.

Listeria is an organism which can cause serious and sometime fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and individuals with weakened immune systems. Healthy people may suffer only short term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

There have been no reports of illness related to consumption of products made at the Topeka plant at this time.

The first two recalls included such ready-to-eat products as potato and pasta salads as well as various dips, spreads and slaws, which were sold to numerous restaurant chains such as Dickey’s and Famous Dave’s as well as food service distributor Sysco, the U.S. government and retailers like Wal-Mart and Safeway.

A complete list of the products recalled is available here.

The company suspended plant activity on Oct. 25 and dismantled all the equipment for sanitation while all employees were retrained on food safety practices, according to a statement of the Reser's website.

The Listeria problem was discovered through microbiological testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. A trace-back investigation and follow-up testing by the Food and Drug Administration at the plant determined there was potential cross-contamination of products with Listeria from product contact surfaces.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said its food safety team in Bentonville, immediately notified all stores to pull the product from the coolers or deli areas where is was being sold. That product included potato salad, and cole slaw products sold in the deli as well as pre-packaged items.  

“We’re committed to providing our customers and members with safe, quality foods. As soon as we learned of the Reser’s recall of their various deli salad and dip products, we immediately notified our stores and clubs to pull all affected product. We also instituted a sales restriction to block any possible sales of the recalled item. Customers and members who believe they still have affected products may return it to their local store or club for a full refund,” said Dianna Gee, corporate spokeswoman.

She said the retailer instituted a register lockdown to prevent the sale of any items recalled due to potential health hazards. The register will automatically print notification explaining the sale is blocked due to a recall.

Product sold at Sam’s Club is traceable back to the member and each time there is a recall, members are phoned by Sam’s to inform them about the potential food safety risks, according to Gee.

When a food product is recalled, the official public notification and news release usually comes from either the regulatory agency (FDA) or the supplier.