Just days after the massive frozen vegetable recall, consumers have to once again start checking “Best By” dates to avoid exposure to Listeria. On Wednesday, SunOpta, a major supplier of snack products to brands such as Planter’s, announced a recall of several products and lots of its sunflower kernels due to possible Listeria exposure.
Check Your Bags of Sunflower Kernels
The source of the outbreak appears to be SunOpta’s Crookston, Minnesota facility. The products in question were packaged between February 1-19, 2016 and include “best by” dates between February 11-March 8, 2017. These products were then shipped to retailers in the midwest, primarily Illinois and North Dakota, but, the company warns, may have then been distributed nationwide.
According to the FDA’s website, 11 lots of two major brands, Planter’s Sunflower Kernels and Dakota’s Best Biggy’s Roasted and Salted Kernels were affected by this recall. Consumers can read about the details of these affected products at the FDA website, here.
But That’s Not All…
Unfortunately, this “limited” recall is not the end of this newest Listeria saga. Because SunOpta is not only an end-line manufacturer for brands like Planter’s, but also a supplier to other brands, the affected sunflower kernels may have ended up a number of additional products available nationwide, which broadens the scope of this recall significantly.
One such manufacturer, TreeHouse Foods, has issued its own recall for a number of snack mixes that contain, or may have been exposed to, the contaminated sunflower kernels from SunOpta. Unlike the original recall, the list of affected products from TreeHouse Foods is extensive and includes more than 100 different snack products produced under various labels such as Meijer, Great Value, Publix, Kroger, and HyVee.
Another producer, Trader Joe’s, who was also affected by the frozen vegetable recall earlier this week, issued this statement to its Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah customers. According to the press release, Trader Joe’s Broccoli Slaw & Kale Salad with White Chicken Meat, Sunflower Seeds, Cranberries, And A Sweet & Spicy Vinaigrette may contain those contaminated kernels as well.
Listeria Concerns and What to Do
The concerns over Listeria contamination are quite significant for particular sectors of the population, most notably pregnant women who risk miscarriage and stillbirth if infected. In addition, the very young and very old along with anyone with a compromised immune system is also a greater risk of severe consequences which can include death.
At this time, no illnesses have been reported that are linked to these sunflower kernels. However, consumers should be on the lookout for signs of Listeria infection including fever, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, stiffness, and diarrhea.
If you have one of the affected foods which, again you can check here, here, and here, please do not consume it. Each manufacturer has its own system for returns that they detail at the links provided.