By Bruce Y. Lee
They may take our broccoli florets, our chicken, and our sausage products, but they will never take our sushi. Well, actually Bravehearts, apparently they can. The latest recall for Listeria monocytogenes contamination involves sushi, otherwise known as happiness.
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The recall doesn’t include all sushi, which would be a disaster wrapped in disaster. No, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the recall by Fuji Food Products, Inc., specifically encompasses their ready-to-eat sushi, salad and spring roll products that they distributed and sold along the East Coast and Upper Midwest. You may not recognize Fuji Food products if you tend to not pay attention while devouring sushi, except to avoid accidentally eating your hands. But these products also go by the brand names of Trader Joe’s or Okami and can be found at stores like Trader Joe’s, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Food Lion, Hannaford, Giant Eagle Supermarkets, Porkys, Bozzuto’s, Supreme Lobster, and Superior Foods. Not exactly Michelin star sushi, but sushi nonetheless.
Here is a CBS This Morning report on the recall:
The sell-by dates for recalled products range from November 20, 2019, to December 24, 2019. If the sell-by date is earlier than November 20, then it may not be included in the recall. That doesn’t mean that you should still eat the product though. For example, don’t eat something today that has a sell-by date of September 20, 2007.
The recall is the result of a routine FDA inspection finding the Listeria bacteria in the company’s Brockton, Massachusetts, facility. There’s nothing routine about finding Listeria in your food. I’ve already written about Listeria multiple times because Listeria contamination of food has happened multiple times already this year. There was, of course, the sausage fest recall. the man o’ Mann veggie recall, and the chicken bleep recall. I am not going to even mention the avocado recall because no one wants to hear about an avocado recall. Recalling both avocados and sushi in the same year would be like recalling both love and happiness.
Listeria is the opposite of love and happiness, unless you happen to love fever and diarrhea. As I have written before for Forbes, if Listeria gets into your bloodstream or central nervous system, things could get even worse. An infection in the central nervous system ends up killing 20% to 30% of people. If you are pregnant, Listeria can lead to miscarriages, premature deliveries, stillbirths, and infections in the newborn if you happen to be pregnant.
Since fever, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea are the typical symptoms, it can be difficult to distinguish a Listeria-induced gastroenteritis from other types of gastroenteritis. If you know that you ate a product that was on the recall list and have these symptoms, call your doctor. If you are not sure if you ate a recalled product but have such symptoms that last longer than 24 to 48 hours or are severe enough to cause dehydration or problems functioning, call your doctor. Also, contact your doctor immediately if you have any signs of a central nervous system infection such as a significant headache, seizures, a stiff neck, balance problems, confusion, or loss of alertness. If you have any concerns about a possible Listeria infection and are pregnant or have a weaker immune system from older age, a chronic disease, or medications, contact your doctor. If you are just upset that you can’t eat that sushi from Porkys, don’t call your doctor, and call your friend instead.
Yet another potential Listeria contamination raises questions once again of how well proper food safety procedures are being monitored and enforced this year. If your product is involved in the recall, don’t just roll with it. Return it for a refund or at least chuck it in the trash. Because if you get sick with Listeria, you won’t just have a rice day.