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Shuttered sprout grower issues Listeria-related recall

Henry’s Farm Inc. — shutdown March 3 after years of ongoing Listeria problems in its fresh sprouts and its facility in Virginia — issued a recall yesterday for soybean sprouts produced “on or after March 1.”

Henry's Farm Natto Soybean Sprouts label

These photos from previous Henry’s Farm Inc. sprout recalls show a lack of traceability information on the labels.

The recall posted by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services does not mention the violations, warnings, recalls and tests showing Listeria monocytogenes in finished sprouts and at the growing operation that have been ongoing since 2012. It only references the Listeria monocytogenes found in the specific sprouts included in the recall.

State officials were unavailable for comment.

“The contamination was discovered through surveillance and monitoring coordinated by the Virginia Rapid Response Team, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Food Safety Program and subsequent analysis by the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services that revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the products” according to the March 22 recall notice on the ag department website.

The recalled soybean sprouts — distributed to retailers in Virginia and Maryland — can be identified as follows:

  • 1-pound bags of soybean sprouts in clear plastic bags labeled “Natto Soybean Sprouts” “Keep Refrigerated” with a UPC number of 1303020000 produced on or after March 1, 2016; and
  • 10-pound bags of soybean sprouts in black plastic bags labeled “Soy Bean Sprouts” “Keep Refrigerated” produced on or after March 1, 2016.

Listeria monocytogenes is a microscopic organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in people and other animals. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Children, elderly people and people with compromised immune systems can develop serious complications and Listeria infections can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women, according to the state’s recall notice.

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