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September 24, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Possible listeria contamination in Whole Foods’ organic kale

Prepackaged kale sold at Whole Foods' Roosevelt Square store that was packed Sept. 15 through Sept. 20 could be contaminated with listeria, which can cause fatal infections. (Courtesy Whole Foods)

Prepackaged kale sold at Whole Foods’ Roosevelt Square store that was packed Sept. 15 through Sept. 20 could be contaminated with listeria, which can cause fatal infections. (Courtesy Whole Foods)

Whole Foods Market is advising shoppers who bought prepackaged, organic kale at its Roosevelt Square store in Seattle to discard the product because of a possible listeria contamination.

The prepackaged kale was sold in rectangular plastic containers with a Whole Foods Market label at the store located at 1026 NE 64th Street. The advisory is issued for kale with packed-on dates of Sept. 15 through Sept. 20.

A routine test of the kale conducted by the state Department of Agriculture came up positive for listeria contamination, said Public Health – Seattle & King County spokesman James Apa. Because the product is chopped and packaged at the store, samples of the kale before and after packaging and preparation surfaces are being tested to help determine where the product became contaminated, he said.

“When you buy a zucchini or tomato, no other processing is done at the store, so the likelihood that some kind of contaminant was introduced at the store is a lot lower,” said Apa. “Once results come back, then we hope to have a better understanding of what the sources of contamination could be.”

Apa said it can take days to get official results back but sometimes preliminary information can indicate possible contamination sooner.

Symptoms of listeria-bacterium poisoning include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Infections in young children or people with weak immune systems can sometimes be fatal. It can also cause miscarriages or stillbirths in pregnant women.

No one has reported illnesses related to the possible contamination, but the store has pulled the product from its shelves. Those who purchased the product can return it to the store for a refund.

 

Comments | Topics: contamination, Listeria, Whole Foods

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