Listeria-Threatened Hummus Was Pulled From Trader Joe's, Target, And Our Hearts

Guess we won't be serving hummus and veggie platters at our Memorial Day BBQs. Nearly 15,000 pounds of possibly listeria-contaminated hummus have been pulled from Trader Joe's, Target, and other supermarket shelves. Hopefully, you weren't building your entire snack table around Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus. Massachusetts-based Lansal, Inc. (doing business as Hot Mama's Foods) announced Wednesday it has voluntarily recalled several hummus and dip products manufactured at its facility.

The recalled products include hummus and dips under Target's Archer Farms label and supermarket chains Trader Joe's and Giant Eagle labels. (Here's a full list of recalled products.) The possible contamination was found during a routine check of Target Archer Farms Traditional Hummus by the Texas Department of Health.

Though no illnesses were reported, the evidence was enough to prompt the nationwide recall. Lansal, Inc. has instructed all retailers and wholesale distributors that carry the affected products to remove them from sale. And anyone who has recently purchased any of the products are urged not to eat it and either toss it or return for a refund.

You're probably thinking, "What am I going to do with these 12 tubs of roasted red pepper hummus? Maybe I'll just risk it." Don't. Listeria is nothing to mess with.

Listeria monocytogenes is a serious bacterium and eating foods contaminated with it leads to the dangerous infection listeriosis, which can prove to be fatal. Listeriosis predominantly affects older adults, newborns, pregnant women, and adults with weak immune systems, but occasionally it can be severe enough to affect a completely healthy adult. The Centers For Disease and Prevention estimates approximately 1600 illnesses and 260 deaths every year in the U.S. — that's a 16 percent mortality rate.

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Symptoms of a listeria infection include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, and nausea. These signs can kick in anywhere between a few days after eating contaminated food and a few months. And if listeria spreads to your nervous system, even more serious symptoms will occur, like confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions.

And if you're pregnant, don't even think about it. Listeria will most likely only have mild consequences on the mother, but can be deadly for the baby.

It's not just hummus you need to worry about when it comes to listeria. Over the last few years, there have been several listeria outbreaks in different kinds of foods — clearly the bacterium does not discriminate. Here's a quick breakdown.

2011: Cantaloupes

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Listeria-contaminated cantaloupes caused the deadliest outbreak of food-borne illness in the U.S. in 10 years. The produce was traced back to Jensen Farms in Colorado, but the fruit had already been shipped around the country before the public became aware of the contamination.

By December, there were 146 reported illnesses and 30 deaths.

2012: Frescolina Marte Ricotta Salata Cheese

Listeria monocytogenes was found in imported Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata cheese, causing 22 people to be infected from 13 states and the District of Columbia. Twenty people were hospitalized, and four died.

2013: Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics Cheeses

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Six people were reported to be infected with listeria from five states after eating products from Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics cheese company. All six people were hospitalized, one died, and one miscarriage occurred when a pregnant woman was infected.

2014: Roos Foods Dairy Products

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This listeria outbreak infected eight people, seven in Delaware and one in California, claiming one life.