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Northwest company expands recall of frozen foods over listeria fears

More than 350 products sold under 42 brands at Costco, Safeway, Trader Joe's, Walmart and other stores are included


SUBMITTED PHOTO - More than 350 products sold under 42 different brands, including Columbia River Organics, are included in a massive recall of frozen foods announced this week.More than 350 frozen food products sold under 42 different brands at stores including Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Costco are included in a voluntary recall expanded this week because of potential listeria contamination.

CRF Frozen Foods announced the recall Wednesday in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, at least seven people in three states have been hospitalized with listeria, two of whom later died. Some of those illnesses have been linked to CRF-manufactured or processed products, the company said.

The recall includes all frozen organic and nonorganic fruit and vegetable products manufactured or processed at CRF's facility in Pasco, Wash., since May 1, 2014. All of the affected products — which were sold under brands including Bybee’s, Columbia River Organics, Northwest Organics, Organic by Nature, Signature Kitchens, Trader Joe’s and Wild Oats — have “best by” dates or “sell by” dates between April 26, 2016, and April 26, 2018.

Products covered by the recall include organic and non-organic broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, corn, edamame, green beans, Italian beans, kale, leeks, lima beans, onions, peas, pepper strips, potatoes, potato medley, root medley, spinach, sweet potatoes, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, peaches, raspberries and strawberries. Various vegetable medleys, blends and stir fry packages also are included.

The food has been sold at stores across the U.S. and in Canada. Initially, the company voluntarily recalled 15 frozen vegetable items after a routine state health inspection detected listeria. The company says it suspended operations at the Pasco plant on April 25 "so a thorough review could be conducted."

CRF urged consumers who purchased any of the products to return them to the store where they were purchased for a refund, or to simply discard them. It also set up a hot line at 844-483-3866, which will be staffed Monday through Friday, 5 a.m.-8 p.m., to answer consumers’ questions.

The CDC, meanwhile, says consumers should throw away the products and clean the areas where they were stored. Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, a listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

For more information or to view the complete list of recalled products, go to the FDA’s website at www.fda.gov/safety/recalls/ucm498841.htm.

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