This Listeria Recall Affects Smoothie Lovers

Frozen food companies are really having an awful 2015. After several companies pulled thousands of various frozen items from store shelves earlier this year, the latest setback has really left consumers on their toes. On Friday, Phoenix-based distributor Inventure Foods issued a recall after a Listeria scare at the company's Jefferson, Georgia plant, forcing retailers to dump over a hundred different products. Most notably, the recall included the popular Jamba At-Home Smoothie line and dozens of Fresh Frozen fruits and vegetables.

"We take this situation very seriously and we’ve taken proactive measures to be certain that our consumers and distribution partners are aware of the situation," said an Inventure spokesperson in a statement. "We have been working in tandem with the FDA to further test our facility to be certain no bacteria is present."

According to the spokesperson, the recall only affects those products manufactured in the company's Georgia plant. Health officials indicated on Friday as well that while a Listeria monocytogenes contamination was discovered on the premises, the bacteria was not found in any of the food items themselves.

"To date, we have found no known sickness linked to consumption [of these products]," said the spokesperson. "Regardless, we wish to err on the side of caution."

Just this past Monday, ice cream manufacturer Blue Bell recalled all of its products nationwide after yet another one of its factories tested positive for the bacteria — only a month earlier, the company had issued a recall of its wholesale ice cream cups (yup, the ones that go to schools and hospitals) after health officials discovered a contaminated sample at a plant in Texas.

"We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe," said Blue Bell CEO Paul Kruse in a company statement at the time. Only days later, Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream issued a recall of all its products as well after a random public health sampling tested positive for the bacteria.

Earlier this year, several companies pulled thousands of items from store shelves after distributor Coastal Green LLC reported a Listeria monocytogenes contamination in its packages of organic spinach. The bacteria outbreak affected organic food companies Amy’s Kitchen, Superior Foods, Twin City Foods, Rising Moon Organics, and several Wegman's grocery locations.

According to the CDC, Listeria monocytogenes is an pathogen that crops up most often in meats and seafoods, working within the host's red blood cells to multiply and spread. Usually, the infection is stopped by the host's white blood cells and destroyed, but if it spreads successfully, it can cause headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. In the elderly and very young or immunocompromised, Listeriosis can be fatal.

So far, Inventure Foods is warning consumers to dispose of any fruits, vegetables, and biscuits listed in the full Fresh Frozen recall (there are over a hundred, so check the company's official statement to see if yours have been affected), as well as Jamba At Home Smoothie products with "best by" dates from March 18, 2016 through October 17, 2016 with code dates from 72644AH01 through 71075AH01.

The company stated on Friday that it was working with authorities to find the source of the contamination and would halt all shipments of the affected products.

"At this juncture we are actively working with the FDA and our distribution partners to confirm that all product has been pulled from the stores," said a spokesperson. For the time being, they explained, those who believe that they may be exhibiting symptoms of Listeriosis should contact a healthcare provider immediately.

Tread carefully, everyone.

Images: khawkins04/Flickr; Inventure Foods