An estimated 72 illnesses and 16 deaths have occurred in 18 states across the U.S. due to Listeria monocytogenes found in cantaloupe. The deadly listeria outbreak is expected to cause more deaths and has even sparked the recalls of Publix spinach dip and Compliments brand smoked ham.
Publix Super Markets is currently recalling spinach dip, because during a routine test for microbials, the retailer discovered that the dip may be contained with Listeria monocytogenes.
The recall is applicable to 16-oz. containers of pre-packaged spinach dip sold at Publix stores in Florida with the UPC code 41415-00062 and the use-by date OCT 10 C1. Spinach dip sold at Publix stores in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee are not involved in this recall.
Currently no illnesses have been linked to the Publix spinach recall.
In Canada on Wednesday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned the public not to consume some smoked ham products, which were distributed in six provinces and recalled over the fear of listeria contamination.
One production lot of Compliments brand Sensations Old-Style Smoked Ham could contain listeria. The recalled product is sold in 175-gram packages with a best-before date of Nov. 13, UPC code 6 23682 10628 2 and lot code 230 87.
The possibly contaminated ham was sold in Ontario, Quebec, and all four Atlantic provinces.
Listeriosis can cause one or more of the following gastrointestinal and flu-like symptoms: nausea, fever, severe headaches, and muscle stiffness. The symptoms can then lead to inflammation around the brain or septicaemia.
To prevent listeriosis, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that meats should be thoroughly cooked, and raw fruits and vegetables should be washed. Any uncooked meat should be stored separately, and any products containing unpasteurized milk avoided. Clean hands and good kitchen hygiene are two key elements of avoiding and preventing listeria.
The deadly listeria monocytogenes bacterium is one that is responsible for nearly 2,500 illnesses and 500 deaths in the United States each year.
The FDA also suggests that anyone who believes they may have become ill from eating any contaminated cantaloupes, ham, or spinach, should seek medical help from a doctor immediately.