The California Department of Public Health is warning consumers not to eat Raquel’s brand hummus salads, wraps, sandwiches, and other food items (pdf) since the products could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  

Listeria is especially dangerous for pregnant women, young children, and the elderly.  The incubation period–time between ingestion and the onset of symptoms–for listeriosis, the illness caused by the ingestion of Listeria bacteria, ranges from three to 70 days and averages 21 days.

raquels-hummus.jpgA person with listeriosis may develop fever, muscle aches, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea.  If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur.  In immune-deficient individuals, Listeria can invade the central nervous system, causing meningitis and/or encephalitis.

Infected pregnant women ordinarily experience only a mild, flu-like illness; however, infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

According to a California Department of Public Health press release, Quong Hop & Co. initiated the voluntary recall of “Raquel’s” brand products after sampling conducted by the health department detected Listeria monocytogenes in a processing plant.  In addition to the bacteria concerns, an allergen, soy lecithin, is used in the production of hummus but it is not mentioned on the label.

Raquel’s PackageRaquel’s products are packaged in a variety of sizes. The hummus has a product date of Sept. 23, 2010 and prior.  Salads, wraps, sandwiches, and other food items have product dates of Aug. 3, 2010 and prior.  

Raquel’s is distributed to supermarkets and natural food stores in several western states, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Consumers who purchased these products should immediately discard them or return them to the store where they were purchased. Anyone who handles these products should wash their hands thoroughly afterwards. Consumers with questions can call Quong Hop at (650) 553-9900 extension 13.