Publisher’s Platform: Enoki mushroom recall a reminder of 2020 deadly Listeria outbreak

Publisher’s Platform: Enoki mushroom recall a reminder of 2020 deadly Listeria outbreak

by Sue Jones
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– Opinion –

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) late Saturday told consumers not to eat the following brand of fresh enoki mushrooms after a sample tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

Xinkang Sheng brand Enoki Mushrooms (UPC 6 972304 660027; no lot code) -packaged in a clear bag with a green label, and white, red, and black Chinese characters. The name “Xinkang Sheng” is written in English on the front of the bag; ‘200’ in white numbers on the back of the bag.

A sample of these mushrooms was collected in November by MDARD from Dong Yu China Market d/b/a Way 1 Supermarket located at 2789 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI. Enoki mushrooms have a long shelf life, so some consumers or restaurants may still have the mushrooms in their kitchens. MDARD is working with its partners at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to assist the industry in removing affected products from commerce and identifying where else the products may have been sold.

If consumers, restaurants, or retail stores believe they purchased the product at a location other than Way 1 Supermarket in Ann Arbor, please provide information about your purchase location via MDARD’s online complaint system.

Consumers with Xinkang Sheng brand enoki mushrooms should discard them. Retailers and restaurants should remove this product from commerce and contact their MDARD inspector or local health department food sanitarian immediately.

Enoki Mushroom Outbreak 2020 Map
Click on image to enlarge.

In 2020, the CDC reported that a total of 36 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from 17 states.

Listeria specimens from ill people were collected from November 23, 2016, to December 13, 2019. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 to 96 years, with a median age of 67. Fifty-eight percent of ill people were female. Of 33 ill people with information available, 31 hospitalizations were reported. Four deaths were reported from California (2), Hawaii, and New Jersey. Six cases were pregnancy-associated, with two resulting in fetal loss.

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence showed that enoki mushrooms supplied by Green Co. LTD, located in the Republic of Korea, were the likely source of this outbreak.

FDA and state officials collected enoki mushrooms for testing. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development collected enoki mushrooms from a grocery store where an ill person shopped and identified the outbreak strain in two samples. These mushrooms were labeled as “Product of Korea” and were distributed by Sun Hong Foods, Inc. On March 9, 2020, Sun Hong Foods, Inc. recalled enoki mushrooms. The California Department of Public Health collected enoki mushrooms from grocery stores and identified the outbreak strain in one sample. These mushrooms were labeled as “Product of Korea” and were distributed by Guan’s Mushroom Co. On March 23, 2020, Guan’s Mushroom Co. recalled enoki mushrooms. FDA collected samples of enoki mushrooms for testing at import from Green Co. LTD of the Republic of Korea. On April 6, 2020, results showed that two samples yielded the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes. As a result, on April 7, 2020, FDA placed Green Co. LTD on Import Alert and H&C Foods Inc. enoki mushrooms supplied by Green Co. LTD.

On March 18, 2020, the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety published its investigation findings and steps it will take to prevent future illnesses. It found Listeria monocytogenes in enoki mushrooms produced by two firms in the Republic of Korea.

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