Third-World Food Safety Woes In THIS U.S. City

Headline Health – Oddly, two geographic areas keep popping up in news stories about deplorable food safety.

One of these is Thailand, a southeast Asian nation widely considered to have a Third World standard of living including, apparently, low standards of personal hygiene. We’ve carried four stories on sanitation and food safety problems in Thailand in the last month alone. We may be taking pad thai off the menu for a while.

One other geographic name keeps showing up in food safety alerts, often concerning outbreaks with life-threatening potential.

Consider that all these recent stories originate from that single metro area –

These incidents all happened in or near one major U.S. city. This urban area is far from the U.S./Mexico border, and nowhere near West Coast ports of entry for bugs hitching rides on imported fish and chicken.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Maybe “there’s something in the water,” as this city is located less than 70 miles from Flint, Michigan. What city is it? Read on …

Ice cream maker expands recall; stops production because of Listeria

Food Safety News, October 1, 2018 – A micro-creamery owner has closed up shop until further notice because state testing found Listeria monocytogenes in his company’s ice cream and production plant.

The owner also expanded a previous recall to include all Reilly Craft Creamery ice cream produced since Feb. 20.

Owner Chris Reilly announced he would not reopen Reilly Craft Creamery LLC in a notice posted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

The initial recall posted Sept. 4 included only two flavors of ice cream from the Detroit company.

“The ice cream is packaged in paper pint cartons and the product numbers are on bottom of the container,” according to the notice on the Michigan agriculture website. Photos of the packaging are available on the company’s website at http://www.reillycraftcreamery.com/welcome-1/

Consumers are urged to check their home freezers to make sure they do not have any Reilly Craft Creamery ice cream. Any of the company’s ice cream that was purchased after Feb. 20 this year should be immediately discarded or returned to the place of purchase.

As of Sept. 28 there hadn’t been any confirmed illnesses related to the Reilly Craft Creamery ice cream. However, it can take up to 70 days after consuming the pathogen for symptoms of Listeria infection to develop.

The recalled ice cream has lot code #022018-1 and was sold in one-pint containers in the following flavors:

  • House Made Honey Comb
  • Mint Choc Chunk
  • Choc Choc Chunk
  • Sea Salt Caramel
  • Hand-Steeped Coffee
  • Single-Batch Strawberry
  • Chocolate Deluxe (Vegan)
  • Small-Batch Strawberry (Vegan)
  • Butter Pecan
  • Vanilla Bean

Stores that sold the ice cream include Whole Foods, The Farmers Hand and Western Market. Reilly distributed the ice cream to dozens of retail locations in Detroit and a distributor in Ann Arbor, MI. Reilly’s recall notice did not indicate where the distribution company sent the ice cream.

In a statement on the company website, Reilly said he has also closed his soft-serve ice cream operation in Detroit because it used the same factory as the recalled pints of ice cream. He told Crain’s Detroit he wants to reopen in the spring, but those odds are low.

“The business is still dealing with recall compliance with the state and U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” according to Crain’s Detroit.

Reilly, who had to buy back all of the ice cream from retailers and a distributor, told Crain’s Detroit that the recall bankrupted him.

State inspectors found the Listeria monocytogenes contamination in two flavors of Reilly’s ice cream during routine testing.

In a follow-up inspection, investigators collected swab samples from equipment and surfaces in the production facility, some of which were positive for the potentially deadly pathogen.

Since his initial recall on Sept. 4, Reilly has complimented and thanked the state inspectors.

“We should all give thanks, too, that our food safety system works so well. MDARD is a shining example of what government can do well,” Reilly says in a statement on his company’s website and Facebook page.

Advice to consumers

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious infections. Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled Reilly ice cream should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks. Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. High-risk patients can develop life-threatening infections. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth.

Republished with permission of Food Safety News. To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.

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