The federal Food and Drug Administration said last week that a Baltimore-based company has recalled more than 400 food items sold on Amtrak trains, vending machines and in stores because of possible listeria contamination.
The company, Fresh Ideas Food Group, froze breakfast sandwiches, muffins, yogurt, fresh produce and other items sold from January 24 to January 30 “because the products have the potential to be contaminated” with listeria bacteria, the FDA said.
Listeria causes an illness that can be fatal, especially in children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems, and an infection that can also lead to miscarriage and stillbirth.
The recall applies to products with a “sell through” date from January 31 to February 6. Affected products were distributed in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
“During routine monitoring of our facility, we determined that listeria may be present in the facility,” the company said in a pre-recorded statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we have recalled all products manufactured at the time of this discovery.”
No illnesses had been reported until February 3, when the FDA announced the recall. Consumers who have purchased any items are encouraged to contact Fresh Ideas.
A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately respond to messages seeking more information.
In an email to customers, Amtrak said some of the recalled products were sold on two of its busiest train lines, the Acela and Northeast Regional trains, between January 24 and 29.
“We immediately discontinued service of these products and immediately removed them from our trains upon receipt of the information,” the company said.
Listeria symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms usually begin about two weeks after consuming food containing the bacteria.
The FDA said that in the United States, previous listeria outbreaks have been linked to undercooked poultry, raw vegetables, and unpasteurized milk and ice cream.
Big Olaf Creamery, a family-owned business in Sarasota, Fla., recalled its ice cream last summer amid an FDA investigation that killed at least one person and sickened two dozen others.
At least one person died and 13 others were hospitalized during an outbreak of listeria that federal officials tied to deli meats and cheeses. The FDA said that among those sickened during the outbreak was a pregnant woman who had lost a pregnancy.
According to the CDC, pregnant women are 10 times more likely to become infected than other people.
According to the CDC, about 1,600 people in the United States get listeriosis each year, and one in five people with the infection die.