On April 27, 2015, employee-owned Hy-Vee Inc. pulled its Summer Fresh Pasta Salad product that is sold in its branches' salad bars and kitchen cold cases, based on a news release from the company's website.

The product was retracted after a Hy-Vee store in Iowa was alerted that its frozen vegetables, ingredients in the ready-to-eat pasta salad, were potentially contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The affected frozen ingredients were assembled at a production plant of Inventure Foods, located in Jefferson, Georgia.

The L. monocytogenes are known agents of a rare bacterial disease, listeriosis. It can cause severe and potentially lethal food-borne infection to pregnant women, newborns and elderly people as well as other adults with weak immune systems. Healthy people may still suffer short-term symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, high fever, migraine and stiffness.

The Hy-Vee Summer Fresh Pasta Salad is normally wrapped for customers by the kitchen department and is typically packed in 32 oz (2 lbs) or 16 oz (1 lb) clear plastic portable containers. A pale tan tag with the product name, price and weight is subsequently attached to each container.

The recalled item would have been offered by a limited number of Hy-Vee stores from April 9, 2015 until April 27, 2015.

Meanwhile the company has also recalled the Summer Fresh Pasta Salad from its delivery channels and all the Hy-Vee branches in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska. All branches that received a delivery of the potentially contaminated products have been given instructions on disposing the items.

As of the moment, the company has not recorded any complaints regarding the Summer Fresh Pasta Salad product.

All customers who bought the product from the Hy-Vee's salad bar or kitchen department cold case during the questionable date range should discard the item or simply return the product to the Hy-Vee store for a refund.

Please contact Hy-Vee Customer Care for free at 1-800-772-4098 for additional information.

Responsible for approximately 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths in the U.S. yearly, listeriosis is recorded as the third leading cause of death among food-borne bacterial infections. L. monocytogenes can be found in soil, which can lead to vegetable contamination. Reports of successful treatment of listeriosis with parenteral ampicillin or penicillin exist. Bacteriophage treatments have been developed by several companies, and those approved by the U.S. FDA can be sprayed on fruits and ready-to-eat meats such as sliced ham and turkey.

Photo: Dean Hochman | Flickr

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