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Atkins, Kashi, Numerous Other Companies Impacted by Expanded Sunflower Seed Recall

A nationwide sunflower seed recall has been widely expanded, impacting dozens more manufacturers and products that may be contaminated with listeria monocytogens, a bacteria that may cause serious and sometimes fatal infection. 

SunOpta announced a sunflower seed kernel recall expansion on June 1, which affects additional products sold across the nation to retailers and wholesalers. To date, no incidents of listeria food poisoning have been reported since the original recall in May this year.

In conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), SunOpta announced the original sunflower seed recall on May 4, after routine testing confirmed the presence of listeria within sunflower seed kernels processed at the Crookston, Minnesota facility. SunOpta relayed to retailers that certain sunflower products could have been exposed to listeria contamination during processing prompting several recalls at the retailer level.

Although neither SunOpta nor the FDA has announced exactly how many pounds of sunflower kernels are included in the massive recall, well over 100 products have been recalled from major retailers across the nation including Trader Joe’s, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Giant Eagle, Brown & Haley, Market District, Meijer’s, Jay–C, Dillons, Bakers, Gerbes, King Soopers, City Market, Fry’s, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Smith’s and various others.

The original recall included all sunflower kernel products originating from SunOpta’s Minnesota facility between the dates of February 1, 2016 and February 19, 2016. SunOpta’s recent recall expansion now covers all sunflower kernel products produced at the facility between May 31, 2015 and January 31, 2016 for potential listeria monocytogen contamination.

Since the recall expansion, at least a dozen or more recalls have been initiated by retailers due to the potential for their products to have been processed with listeria contaminated sunflower kernels from SunOpta.

On June 1, Publix Super Markets issued a multi-state recall for various nut, seed, and raisin mixes after being notified by their supplier Flagstone Foods that the sunflower products originated from SunOpta’s Minnesota facility. The products were sold in the produce sections of Publix supermarkets across six southern states.

Several popular product recalls were announced on June 3, by Kashi Company for various types of sunflower butter spreads and chewy granola bars, Atkins Nutritionals Inc. who announced recalls for various flavored granola bars and yogurt products, Quaker Oats Company who announced recalls of two popular flavors of granola bars, and Cliff Bar Company who announced three popular flavors of energy bars.

Listeriosis is a foodborne illness that can cause serious health consequences and death, especially for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. The infection is considered by the FDA as one of the more dangerous foodborne illnesses and frequently results in hospitalizations and carries a 25% fatality rate.

Symptoms of listeria infections may include nausea, muscle ache, diarrhea, fever, and fatigue. In severe cases for the elderly and young children, the bacteria could spread through the bloodstream to the nervous system resulting in sometimes fatal infections. For pregnant women, listeriosis can pose a risk of miscarriages, still births, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

Affected products were likely shipped to nearly every state in the U.S. and Canada since May 2015. Customers are being urged to search the open recalls for products potentially contaminated with SunOpta sunflower kernels. Retailers and wholesalers are being asked to check their inventories and shelves to confirm that none of the recalled products are present or available for purchase by consumers.

The FDA is also asking customers to check their inventories at home and to take any remaining products back to their store of purchase for a refund or simply discard them. Customers may contact SunOpta for further information at 1-888-886-4428 or email the company at emailcontactus@sunopta.com.

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