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Listeria’s Long Incubation Period Hangs Over Parkers Farm Recall

Costco called 50,000 members about the problem

No Listeria illnesses associated with Parkers Farm Inc. food products recalled over the weekend have yet been reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, says spokesman Doug Schultz. But, because the long incubation period for Listeria bacteria can extend out as far as 70 days, Schultz says MDH will remain on alert for illnesses related to products from the Coon Rapids, MN-based company.

Fast action in the recall came from Issaquah, WA-based Costco, which has a protocol for Class 1 recalls when there is a serious human health danger.

We were notified at about 7:30 p.m. PDT on Friday night by Parkers Farm of the issue,” Craig Wilson, Costco’s national safety director, told Food Safety News. “We then pulled a list of every Costco member who had purchased the item over the last year (50,000 members) and called them up and explained the details of the recall and advised them to discontinue consumption of the peanut butter and return it to their local Costco for a full refund.”

Wilson said Costco members who purchased Parkers Farm peanut butter patronize one or more of Costco’s 21 wholesale clubs in the Midwest.  “We also send a follow-up letter to the member,” he added.

Listeria is among the most deadly of foodborne diseases because of it high fatality rate. Recent Listeria outbreaks in the U.S. and Canada involving people who ate cantaloupe and ready-to-eat meats were the most deadly incidents of their kind for each country in modern history.

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections.  It occurs mostly in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Healthy adults might suffer from short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Schultz said anyone who ate any of the Parkers Farm recalled products and is experiencing illness should contact a health care provider or their local health department so laboratory tests results are reported to their state health department.

The company’s peanut butter, cheese and bagel spreads, dips and salsas were distributed nationally through major grocery chains. In addition to Parkers Farm, the other brand names on the products included Parkers, Happy Farms. Central Markets, Hy-Top, Amish Classic, Say Cheez, Win Schuler and Bucky Badger.

Hy-Vee, Cub, Rainbow, Byerly’s, Lunds, Target, Whole Foods, Price Chopper, Nash Finch, ALDI, Walmart and Brookshire stores also sold the Parker Farms products.  The recalled products should be returned to retailers for credit or be discarded. They include:

  • 16-ounce Parkers Farm peanut butter in square plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including creamy, crunchy, honey creamy and honey crunchy varieties with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015;
  • 34-ounce Parkers Farm peanut butter in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including creamy and crunchy varieties with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015;
  • 12-ounce Parkers Farm spreads in round or square plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including jalapeño and pimento varieties with a sell-by date before 9/20/2014;
  • 8-ounce and 16-ounce Parkers Farm cold pack cheese in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including sharp cheddar, bacon, onion, smoked cheddar, Swiss almond, horseradish, garlic, port wine, and “Swiss & cheddar” varieties with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015;
  • 16-ounce Parkers Farm salsa in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including hot, mild, garlic, and fire-roasted varieties with a sell-by date before 7/20/2014;
  • 10-ounce Parkers cheese balls or logs (plastic overwrap), including sharp cheddar, port wine, ranch, and “smokey bacon” varieties with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015;
  • 10-ounce Happy Farms cheese balls (plastic overwrap), including sharp cheddar and port wine varieties with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015;
  • 16-ounce Happy Farms cold pack cheese in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including sharp cheddar and port wine varieties with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015;
  • 8-ounce Central Markets cold pack cheese in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including sharp cheddar, port wine, horseradish, and Swiss almond varieties with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015;
  • 12-ounce and 20-ounce Hy-Top cheese spread in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including pimento and jalapeño varieties with a sell-by date before 9/20/2014;
  • 8-ounce Amish Classic cold pack cheese in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), including sharp cheddar, port wine, and Swiss almond varieties with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015;
  • 14-ounce Say Cheez beer cheese in round plastic container (tub with snap on lid), including regular and hot varieties with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015;
  • 10-ounce Win Schuler original variety cheese balls or logs (plastic overwrap) with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015;
  • 8-ounce, 12-ounce, and 14-ounce Bucky Badger cheese spreads (tub with snap-on lid) including cheddar, port wine, bacon, garlic, horseradish, jalapeño, and Swiss almond varieties with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015; and,
  • 5-pound food service products, including cold pack cheese foods, cheese spreads and peanut butter, with a sell-by date before 3/20/2015.

This is the second Listeria recall in four years.  On January 8, 2010, Parkers also prompted a Listeria recall of peanut butter, cheese and salsa.  The recall was a result of a sampling done by the state of Wisconsin and the state of Minnesota which revealed that some finished products contained the bacteria. On January 15, the recall was expanded to include all products and all sell by dates. The recalled products were distributed nationwide in the following retail stores: Hy-Vee, Cub, Rainbow, Byerlys, Lunds, Target, Whole Foods, Jewel, Dominicks, Marsh, Price Chopper, Shop Rite, Nash Finch, Sams Club, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Wal-Mart and Aldi.

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