Sangar Fresh Cut Produce, a San Antonio, Texas food processing company, has been ordered to cease processing food and to recall products that have been shipped from the plant since January of this year. This order was issued following laboratory tests performed on chopped celery indicated that Listeria monocytogenes were present in the produce.
The products recalled were mostly fresh cut produce that was distributed to schools, hospitals and restaurants. The products were in sealed packages; it is believed that the products recalled were not sold in grocery stores.
The Texas Department of State Health Services tested the produce as part of an investigation in to 10 cases of listeriosis reported over a 8 month time span. Five of these cases resulted in death. Of these 10 reported Listeria illnesses, 6 were linked to the chopped celery from the Sangar plant. The Texas counties involved in these illnesses were Bexar, Hidalgo and Travis. Those who became ill reportedly all had serious underlying health problems, which put people who contract Listeria at an increased risk of severe or deadly complications. – Article provided by Injury attorneys in Buffalo
The Sangar plant was found to have sanitation issues by DSHS inspectors, who believe that other produce at the plant may have been contaminated by the chopped celery. Some of the issues found by inspectors included improper hand washing, a soiled preparation table and condensation leaking over a food product area. Investigations are ongoing as DSHS attempts to determine the source of the contamination, and where all of the products involved may have been distributed.
Sanger President Kenneth Sanquist disputes the findings, and says that independent tests showed that the produce is completely safe. He says that the findings by the state are erroneous, and that the company is aggressively fighting these accusations.
That being said, it is highly unusual for a plant to be ordered to stop all production and recall products from many months prior; businesses are not normally shut down by health departments for no reason.
Listeria food poisoning is commonly characterized by nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, muscle aches, stiff neck and fever. Individuals with weakened immune systems, as well as the very young and the elderly, may be at risk for serious or even fatal complications.
Contact an experienced food poisoning law firm if you suspect you have become ill due to Listeria tainted foods; you may be eligible for compensation of costs related to your illness.