FDA WARNING: Seafood products sold in Texas, Louisiana may have Listeria contamination

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The FDA is warning restaurants and seafood retailers to stop selling or serving products from Topway Enterprises Inc. or Kazy’s Gourmet due to possible Listeria contamination.

The notice from FDA says salmon and tuna products sold in Texas and Louisiana are particularly at risk.

The notice targets restaurants, food retailers and consumers.

It says the affected products are Topway Enterprise Inc. and Kazy’s Gourmet RTE seafood products, including tuna and salmon for raw consumption, received from July 10 to July 13, 2019. These seafood products may be incorporated into sushi.

Affected products are fillets wrapped in plastic distributed to restaurants in Texas and Louisiana during the specified period.

People who eat food contaminated with L. monocytogenes may develop a disease called listeriosis. A listeriosis infection can have serious adverse effects for women who are or may become pregnant, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.

The FDA said it conducted a routine facility inspection of Topway Enterprises Inc. in February. During the inspection, the FDA collected 53 environmental samples, 31 of which tested positive for non-disease-causing Listeria species.

The FDA noted “serious sanitation issues” during the inspection, and Topway promised to take corrective action.

The Texas Department of State Health Services followed up with an inspection in June. That inspection turned up four environmental samples that tested positive for L. monocytogenes.

State inspectors found continuing sanitation and seafood safety compliance issues and said Topway Enterprises Inc. had not yet completely implemented the corrective actions the firm had agreed to in February.

State inspectors sent their findings to the FDA. The FDA was notified of these findings on July 3, 2019 by the state. 

On July 11, the FDA advised Topway to cease operations until the corrective measures were taken.

“Although the firm committed to recalling ready-to-eat seafood products, including tuna and salmon for raw consumption, FDA has been unable to confirm whether consignees of the recalled food were notified of the firm’s recall and were able to take action to remove existing product from the market,” the agency said in its notice. “As a result, FDA is publishing this Safety Alert to notify businesses who may have received product from Topway Enterprises Inc. from July 10 to July 13, 2019. “

Restaurants and retailers that have purchased products from Topway between July 10 and July 13 are advised to discard the products.

Food service operators who have handled potentially contaminated food in their facilities should:

  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wash and sanitize display cases and surfaces used to potentially store, serve, or prepare potentially contaminated foods.
  • To prevent the growth of L. monocytogenes, set the refrigerator to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), and set the freezer to 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius).
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process. 
  • Conduct regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of cutting boards and utensils used in processing to help minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination. 

Consumers who have recently bought raw ready-to-eat seafood products, particularly salmon and tuna for raw consumption, in Texas and Louisiana should contact the restaurant or food retailer for more information about where the seafood was processed and sourced. Consumers who suspect they have had contaminated food in their homes should throw the food away and follow these steps:

  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used. 
  • Wipe up spills in the refrigerator immediately and clean the refrigerator regularly.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and following any cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems should avoid certain foods, including raw fish and other raw foods, which carry a high risk for L. monocytogenes.

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