Enoki mushrooms recall: Listeria meaning explained as customers report getting sick after vegetable consumption

recalls of Enoki Mushrooms, risks of Lysteria (Visual Ilustration via Internet)
recalls of Enoki Mushrooms, risks of Lysteria (Visual Ilustration via Internet)

Enoki mushrooms, sold by Green Day Produce, have been recalled by the vegetable and fruit company, fearing contamination with listeria monocytogenes. The contamination was reported after the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) detected listeria in the tested samples.

As of November 17, two people have been admitted to the hospital after consuming Enoki mushrooms. This has triggered a collaborative investigation between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other public health and regulatory officials.

Following the investigation, Green Day Produce recalled all 7.05 ounce plastic packages of the mushrooms. The packages, which were imported from Korea, were sold between September and October this year. These mushrooms were distributed in stores across the country and carry the UPC 16430-69080.

Customers with any such packages of Enoki mushrooms at their disposal are strictly advised to throw them away or return them for a complete refund. When consumed, contaminated mushrooms can cause serious infections in young children and the elderly alike.

How can Enoki mushrooms cause listeria?

In medical terms, Listeria (Listeriosis) is an infection that is caused when people consume food that is contaminated with a bacterium called Listeria Monocytogenes.

Listreria is one of the most common but fatal infections, and around 1,600 people are infected each year, out of which 250 die. The infection has the worst effect on children and people with a weakened immune system like pregnant women, newborn babies, and adults aged 65 or older.

Mushrooms are fungi that thrive on dying and decaying organic matter. Depending on the species and growing conditions, they can often be contaminated with certain bacteria.

While most of these bacteria are killed when the mushrooms are cooked properly, this isn't the case with Enoki mushrooms as it is common practice to eat them raw or semi-cooked.

a stack of Enoki Mushrooms (Image via Gettyimages)
a stack of Enoki Mushrooms (Image via Gettyimages)

The CDC reports that after consuming the contaminated mushrooms, it may take up to 70 days for the first symptoms to be visible. The most common symptoms for a listeria infection are fever, flu-like symptoms, headaches, stiff necks, confusion, loss of balance, and seizures.

Readers are advised to rush a patient to the nearest hospital if they are experiencing these symptoms.

Enoki mushrooms are often long, thin, and white, and are very popular in Japanese, Chinese and Korean cuisines. The mushrooms are mostly sold in big to small clusters with roots attached to them. The roots are to be separated before cooking the mushrooms.

When cooked, the crunchy mushrooms have a mild, nutty flavor and can feel slightly chewy. They are easy to cook and go well with soups, stir-frys, hot pots, ramen, curries, and even omelets.

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