Kale Is the Latest Food to Be Recalled Due to Listeria

Bye bye bitter greens.

September 21, 2021
Photo by Cavan Images

In bitter produce news, Baker Farms has announced a recall of its one-pound plastic bags of kale due to possible listeria contamination. The bags of kale were distributed to Kroger and SEG Grocers across 11 different states including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, and Virginia. The affected product was distributed to grocery stores between August 30th and September 1st and has a best-by date of September 18, 2021. The product has tested positive for listeria but no illnesses have been reported at this time. So how does listeria compare to other forms of foodborne bacteria like salmonella or E.coli? “While most of the food-related bacteria grow better in warm to moderate temperatures and do not grow at all or only extremely slowly at cold temperatures, listeria is the exception and is able to also grow at low temperatures, such as in refrigerators,” says Dr. Kang Zhou, a food safety officer for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Wondering if your bag of kale is part of the recall? Check the UPC code! Baker Farms Kale has a UPC code that reads 8 13098 02001 6; Kroger Kale has a UPC code that reads 0 11110 18170 1; and SEG Grocers Kale has a UPC code that reads 0 38259 11482 7.

Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne bacteria that thrives and spreads in cold environments. It can lead to serious, potentially fatal food poisoning. An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, but the number of unreported cases is likely much higher. Pregnant women and newborns, elderly adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems are most at risk for experiencing serious, potentially life-threatening symptoms. An average of 260 cases of listeriosis are fatal each year.

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“Although the incidence of listeriosis is lower than other enteric illnesses (meaning the disease does not occur as often as others), infections caused by L. monocytogenes are generally more serious and may lead to hospitalizations and fatalities,” says Dr. Zhou. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of listeriosis may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, fever, and muscle aches. People who are infected with listeriosis may not feel symptoms for up to 4 weeks after exposure.

If you have purchased one of the impacted products, dispose of it immediately or return it to the place of purchase to receive a full refund.

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Former Food52 Staff Editor