Fresh Express recalls hearts of romaine for risk of Listeria

In a voluntary recall  of expired  Fresh Express heart of romaine lettuce was issued on 09/27.  The possible risk is Listeria monocytogenes.  Listeria is a an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

According to the press release the following products are the only ones affected:


Best If Used
By Date
Fresh Express Hearts of Romaine 18 oz. 071279-262017 H256A08 SEP 26 CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, RI, VT, VA, WV,

Sunland, Inc Peanut Butter Recall is expanding…newest update

According to a press release issued on 09/25/12 by Falcon Trading Company, Inc./SunRidge Farms of Royal Oaks, CA a voluntary recall of the following products has been issued.  Other Sunland products have already been recalled due to possible Salmonella contamination.

The following was listed in the press release:
RE: Sunridge Farms – Energy Nuggets

Item Code

UPC Code

Item Description
Pack Size
Case Quantity
Lot Codes
022160 086700221600 Sunridge Candy – Energy Nuggets 10 Pound Case 852 Cases 2351244; 2361244; 2411244; 2421244; 1851217; 1871217; 1881817; 1911217; 1921217; 1931217; 1941217; 1951217

RE: Sunridge Farms – Peanut Butter Power Chews

Item Code

UPC Code

Item Description
Pack Size
Case Quantity
Lot Codes
500200 086700902004 Sunridge Candy – Peanut Butter Power Chews 10 Pound Case 1846 Cases 2511230; 2541230; 2551230; 2561230
2361214; 2371214; 2401214; 2211283
2221283; 2271283; 2281283; 2011212
2021212; 2051212; 2061212; 2071212
2081212; 1711269; 1721269; 1731269;      1741269; 1771269; 1781269

RE: Sunridge Farms – Treasure Trove Mix

Item Code

UPC Code

Item Description
Pack Size
Case Quantity
Lot Codes
430110 086700301104 Sunridge Snack Mix – Treasure Trove Mix 20 Pound Case 50 Cases 2051213; 2271263

In addition to the Sunland recall, a press release was also issued by ” Chattanooga Bakery, Inc., maker of MoonPie® and LookOut!™ branded snacks, today announced a voluntary, limited recall of its Peanut Butter Crunch products with “Best By” dates of 02/26/13, 03/25/13, and 04/29/13. No other Chattanooga Bakery / MoonPie / LookOut products are affected by this recall. ”


Beef recalled in Canada for E.coli yet to be recalled in the US

update: 10/08/12   The FSIS has updated information on the previous Public Health Alert.  “Previously, FSIS reported that approximately 890,000 pounds of boneless beef trim were received by U.S. firms from XL Foods, Inc. After conducting effectiveness checks, FSIS now estimates that approximately 1.1 million pounds of trim and approximately 1.4 million pounds of primal and sub-primal cuts used to produce steaks, roasts, mechanically tenderized steaks and roasts, and ground beef were received by U.S. firms.”

The list of known distribution locations can be found here.

update: 09/26/12  The Public Health Alert now includes whole muscle cuts of meat used to make ground beef.

I can not explain the reasoning behind the lack of recall in this issue.  However, a FSIS Public Health Alert was issued on 09/20/2012 by the FSIS stating,  “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing a Public Health Alert for raw boneless beef trim products imported from Canada by XL Foods, Inc. that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. ”

Oddly enough the FSIS notified CA of its findings on September 3rd.  As stated on the FSIS website, ” After follow-up testing by FSIS and CFIA, the CFIA announced arecall by XL Foods, Inc. of a variety of ground beef products on September 16, 2012.”  But no recall for the US, even though the in question “beef trims” were distributed in the Greater Cincinnati area, Northern Kentucky, Dayton Ohio, Southeastern Indiana, Indiana (except for Evansville), Illinois, and Eastern Missouri areas.

Beef trims are commonly used for the making of ground beef.  Be sure to cook all ground meats to a minimum temperature of 155° to ensure food safety.

Look for more information to follow as it becomes available.  We will post updates as they become available on our Facebook page. 

Comfort Food for a Rainy Day

Cheesy Potato and Bacon soup.  How much more comfort could there be?   This is an economical and easy recipe anyone can make.   cheesy-bacon-potato-soup

Boil 6 cups diced Green Giant Klondike Rose ®  potatoes.  Do not over cook. Leave slightly firm.

While the potatoes are cooking, dice 6-8 slices of bacon and start browning in heavy bottom pot. I prefer cast iron dutch oven.

Dice 1 cups of celery and 1 cup onion and add to bacon.

Add 1/2 cup  butter.

Continue cooking bacon, celery and onion over low heat for 20 minutes.

Whisk  in 1/2 cup flour.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Slowly add in 3 cups of milk and 2 cups of chicken stock.

Add 1/2 teaspoon thyme,  2 teaspoon Worcestershire, 1 Tablespoon parsley, salt and pepper to taste.

Finally, add 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

You can add more milk or stock if too thick for your taste.

Cook for an additional 15 minutes over low heat.


Packing a food safe lunch

Children are back in school and for many of us that means packing lunches again.   You may not realize that some lunch box choices my be putting your child at risk for foodbourne illness.  Many talk about nutrition in lunches, which I am big proponent of, but often food safety is overlooked or misunderstood.

I have included some guidelines for you to follow which are based on the recommended FDA food code.

First let’s discuss what are typical high risk lunch box foods.  There are foods that are  more at risk for the growth of harmful bacteria and you should avoid or take special care of them.   For these “at risk” cold foods your goal should be to keep at 70° or below for no more than 6 hours and never above 70° for more than 2 hours.  Many children’s lunches are packed in the early morning hours and it can be close to 6 hours before consumption. Hot foods should not be below 145° for more than 4 hours.

Here is a list of the common lunch box “at risk” foods.  This list does not include every food that needs temperature control but rather common foods that need special attention.

  • Lunch Meats
  • Hard boiled eggs that are peeled
  • Cut melons
  • Cut lettuce and tomatoes
  • Left overs that will be served cold. For example, sliced chicken from the night before
  • Soft moist type cheeses that are not commercially wrapped
  • Dairy food like yogurt

Second, here are some tips on protecting the food you do pack and alternative foods that make great choices.

  • Be sure to refrigerate all food that will be packed in lunch box / bag the night before.  Putting warm food next to cold will increase the temperature of the “at risk” foods unnecessarily.  Even chips and other snacks can be refrigerated.
  • Pre-freeze anything you can.  Yogurts can be frozen and will defrost throughout the morning.
  • Use whole, washed fruit instead of cut melons.
  • When slicing or packaging  foods remember to use clean and sanitary surfaces and properly washed hands.
  • Nuts are a great source of protein.  There is a Cocoa Roasted Almond that my daughter loves mixed with raisins.
  • Use pre-portioned unopened cans of Tuna Salad or Chicken salad rather than homemade.  They may be more expensive but we are talking about your child’s health.
  • Raw vegetables with dressing / dip on the side.
  • Look in the club type stores commercial section for items in commercial packaged food that are individually portioned like dressings.
  • Whole wheat crackers
  • Cheese in the individual portions.

I hope this list will help you start thinking about lunches as more than a sandwich and chips.  A good mix of dairy, protein, fruit and carbohydrates will keep your children going strong all day long and keep them safe from the dreaded gastrointestinal discomforts that are commonly associated with excessive bacterial growth on foods.

Please feel free to share your favorite food safe  lunch time ideas! Can’t wait to hear your ideas.