It’s a relief to have some romaine back on the shelves again, now that federal health investigators have narrowed the source of the latest E. coli O157:H7-contaminated lettuce outbreak to the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California.
Specifically, consumers, retailers and restaurants should avoid romaine lettuce from these six California counties: Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Ventura, according to the latest update from the Food and Drug Administration. If you don’t know the source of your lettuce, federal health agencies warn, don’t eat it.
Other food recalls this month were smaller than the romaine lettuce debacle or the massive ham recall this October, in which more than 89,000 pounds of ready-to-eat deli hams from North Carolina were rounded up due to suspected Listeria contamination that sent four people to the hospital and reportedly led to a death in Virginia. Not long before that, Salmonella from cage-free large eggs produced in Cullman, Alabama, sickened more than 40 people in a multistate outbreak.
This November was not as macabre a month in food recalls as some others (a Forbes story I wrote about FDA recalls in April 2017 sounded like a menu from Hotel Transylvania: bat body parts found in organic salad mixes, belladonna in teething rings and ground-up golf balls in hash browns). But it was a bad month nonetheless for certain cheeses, dog food, and other foods, so it’s still worth checking your fridge or pantry to see if any tainted items are lurking there (see below).
Four different batches of cheeses are among the food recalled this month for contamination with Salmonella or Listeria germs, neither one of which you want to contract. Salmonella is marked by in fever, abdominal cramps and severe diarrhea 12 to 72 hours after infection; in rare cases, it can be life-threatening if it spreads to the bloodstream. Listeria can lead to listeriosis, one of the most serious foodborne illnesses. It’s an infection that causes flu-like symptoms such as muscles aches, fever, nausea, and diarrhea, but in rare cases, people with weakened immune systems may go on to develop septic shock or potentially fatal infections like meningitis. It’s a particular risk for older adults, small children and pregnant women because the infection can cross the placenta and harm the fetus.
Cheeses under recall in November 2018
(Please click on the links for FDA recall site information on recalled batch numbers and other details.)
–“Margie” cheese of Sprout Creek Farm of Poughkeepsie, New York, which recalled 132 one-pound cheese wheels on November 5 for Listeria monocytogens, a bacterium that can grow at typical refrigerator temperatures. Later in the month, on November 28, Sprout Creek Farm recalled 4 wheels of raw “Kinkead” cheese that was potentially contaminated with Listeria germs.
–Quesillo and Alebrige cheeses from Alebrije Distributors Wholesale, which recalled 498 Alebrije cheese and 100 kilos of “Queseria La Milagrosa” quesillo cheeses on November 9 after salmonella was found in a sample of “La Miligrosa.” (Salmonella was not found in the Alebrije cheeses, but the distributor recalled them anyway “out of an abundance of caution.”)
— Ackawi cheese from Green Cedar Dairy of Michigan with a “sell by” date of March 26, 2019 was recalled after a cheese sample tested positive for Listeria monocytgenes in a routine FDA test.
Dog foods under recall
This month’s pet food recalls resulted from too much vitamin D in various dog foods. This may not sound scary as, say, phenobarbital, but excessive vitamin D in dog chow can actually cause kidney failure in canines. Symptoms include vomiting, increased thirst or urination, loss of appetite, excess drooling and weight loss. Customers who bought the following brands and lot batches (click on the products for details) should stop feeding it to their pooches, throw it away and contact the companies for a refund:
–Natural Life Chicken and Potato Dry Dog Food (November 2, 2018 voluntary recall, which was expanded on Noember 9)
–Nutrisca Dry Dog Food (November 2, 2018 voluntary recall)
–Orlando brand Grain-Free Chicken and Chickpea Superfood Recipe Dog Food (November 6, 2018 voluntary recall)
–Sunshine Mills Evolve and Sportsman’s Pride dog food (November 28, 2018 voluntary recall)
–ANF Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food (November 28, 2018 voluntary recall)
–ELM Pet Foods, chicken and chickpea recipe (November 29, 2018 voluntary recall)
Other food items recalled this month ranged from Pictsweet Farm’s asparagus spears (potential Listeria monocytogenes to Duncan Hines cake mixes, Barcelona roasted and salted pistachios, Achduct tahini and a small batch of Quaker Oat’s Cap’n Crunch’s Peanut Butter Crunch Cereal(potential Salmonella contamination). People with allergies to wheat, nuts, lactose and eggs might want to take a look at the recalls, too, since more than 10 products were recalled for undeclared allergens.
The full list of November recalls is available from the FDA food safety recall and alerts archive.
This article originally appeared on Forbes