Routine pathogen testing revealed Listeria contamination in The Farming Fish brand of organic basil pesto with watercress, spurring the Oregon company to recall the product, which was distributed to retailers in the state.

In addition to recalling the implicated lot, the company is recalling additional production runs as a precautionary measure and changing the way it packages the pesto, according to the recall notice on the  Food and Drug Administration website.

recalled Farming Fish organic pesto“Consumers who have purchased affected products should not consume the product and are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund, according to the recall notice.

“The Farming Fish apologizes for any inconvenience experienced by our valued consumers and retail customers and will refund not only this date code but any product in an 8.5-ounce plastic deli container to bring full peace of mind to all customers. The pesto will be packaged in a glass container moving forward.”

The specific product under recall is The Farming Fish brand “Organic Basil Pesto with Watercress” produced by Our Local Bounty of Rogue River, OR. It is in 8.5-ounce plastic containers with the UPC number 7 23175 33586 8 with any of the following “enjoy or freeze by dates” of:

  • 4/30/2017;
  • 5/6/2017;
  • 5/13/2017; and
  • 5/20/2017.

“We take the safety of our products very seriously,” company co-owner Olivia Hittner said in the recall notice. “Immediately after being notified of the potential health concern, we took action to identify the products implicated in the recall and we discontinued shipment of all affected product. We are working quickly with distributors and retailers to remove the product from shelves and eliminate any risk to consumers.”

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled pesto and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctors of the possible exposure to the pathogen so that the proper diagnostic tests can be performed.

It can take up to 70 days for symptoms to develop after exposure, so anyone who has eaten any of the recalled pesto should monitor themselves in the coming weeks for symptoms.

Symptoms of listeriosis infection, caused by Listeria monocytogenes, include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. In healthy adults the symptoms may be mild and short term. However, it can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Listeria infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.


(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)