Amy’s Kitchen Recalls Products Because of Possible Listeria Contamination
Products containing spinach, including certain lasagna, pizza and rice bowl meals, are included
It’s been a busy couple of weeks with recalls. There was the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese original flavor being recalled because of possible small pieces of metal in boxes last week, and recently, several Blue Bell ice cream products were recalled because of Listeria contamination.
Now it’s Amy’s Kitchen’s turn. The maker of organic frozen meals has recalled approximately 73,897 cases of various products containing spinach after learning from one of their spinach suppliers that the spinach may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Listeria infection most often affects pregnant women, babies, people with weakened immune systems and people 65 and older. In pregnant women it can cause a miscarriage. Listeria infection is the third leading cause of deaths from food poisoning. Healthy people may get sick from listeria, too, and suffer short-term from fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
So far there have been no complaints of illness related to the products in question. The manufacturer has recalled the products “out of an abundance of caution.”
Now is the time to scour your freezer for any of the recalled products. If you have one, throw it out or return it to the store where you bought it for an exchange or full refund. The recalled products were made between January 21, 2015 and March 4, 2015 and were distributed in both the United States and Canada. The following products are those that were recalled:
If you have a product on this list, consult this page from the Food and Drug Administration to see if your package was part of the recall.
Why does it seem like spinach is involved in so many recalls? It's not your imagination.
According to Benjamin Chapman, PhD, associate professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, “the FDA considers leafy greens, including spinach, a high-risk produce because of its involvement with contamination recalls. We’re not 100 percent clear on what exactly puts this green at greater risk, but we think it could be related to water and soil. For instance, Listeria is found in water, soil and human feces. Spinach crops grow in soil, get irrigated and then harvested by being cut with a blade. The greens can encounter Listeria at any of these points.”
If you have a recalled product, don't eat it under any circumstances. But what if you already did? Cooking the product probably reduced your risk. When Listeria-contaminated food is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat can kill off a considerable number of the bacteria, says Chapman. But the risk is not eliminated altogether, especially since microwave ovens are known for cooking food unevenly. What's more, says Chapman, "we’ve had cases in the past where following the manufacturer’s directions might not be enough to get the food to that temperature."