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Enoki mushrooms recalled after deadly listeria outbreak claims 4 lives

Posted at 10:35 AM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 12:36:15-04

The FDA and CDC are investigating a widespread outbreak of listeria linked to enoki mushrooms.

The contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause life-threatening illnesses, has claimed at least four lives and 36 people have been sickened across 17 states. The four reported deaths were in California, Hawaii and New Jersey, and 30 people have been reported hospitalized.

At the source of the outbreak are enoki mushrooms supplied by Sun Hung Foods, Inc.

Enoki mushrooms are white, with long stems and small caps. The affected mushrooms were sold in clear plastic bags with a green panel and are labeled as "Product of Korea."

On Monday, the company issued a recall of the mushrooms.

The CDC warns consumers to not eat the recalled mushrooms, "even if some was consumed and no one became sick."

The CDC says the first illness linked to the mushrooms started as early as November 2016. The agency is advising anyone who has the mushrooms to throw them out and to "wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where they were stored."

According to the FDA, typical symptoms of listeria infection include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. However, the infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women. Since the outbreak, six pregnant women have fallen ill, two of whom suffered miscarriages.

Symptoms typically begin to appear 1 to 4 weeks after eating contaminated food. The infection is treated with antibiotics.