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A small company has a big listeria problem

Miami Herald - 6/18/2017

June 18--Hudson Valley Farms is a food company claiming 10 or fewer employees. They don't even have a working website.

How big a deal could a listeria problem there be? Problem enough to be the source for at least three of the seven listeria-related national food recalls posted to the FDA site Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Hudson Valley Farms makes nuts and nut butter products for various food manufacturers at its Highland plant two hours north of New York City. Listeria has been found at HVF's plant. That nasty news at an ingredient supplier sends voluntary recall ripples among customer companies.

Listeria in food can lead to listeriosis, of which the Centers for Disease Control says on its website: "An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems."

All the recalls in this run have been voluntary and no illnesses reported so far.

GoMacro Director of Operations Tony Saarem said Thursday HVF supplied the almonds used in their recalled MacroBars and ThriveBars. Saarem said HVF told GoMacro Tuesday it was expanding a previous recall to include the production period covering the almonds that went to GoMacro.

"GoMarco encourages customers with questions about the recall to phone Saaarem at 608-627-2310 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or email him at tony@gomacro.com.

HVF also supplied ingredients to New England Natural Bakers, which late Thursday announced a recall of its Organic Muesli, Evoke Organic Classic Swiss, Evoke Organic Athlete Fuel and Millville Fruit & Nut Whole Grain Granola. Consumers with more questions can call 413-772-2239 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Bulletproof 360's recall notice for five of its Collagen Protein Bars and Protein Bites, sold nationally and internationally, stated HVF supplied the cashew butter used in the product. While listeria wasn't on the equipment used to make that cashew butter, Bulletproof's announcement stated, it was in another part of the HVF facility. Bulletproof's customer service number is 425-434-9704, Monday through Friday, from noon to 8 p.m.

Kroger's recall of Simple Truth Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts expanded on its May recall of the same nuts. Kroger's announcement said the supplier who warned in May the macadamias could have listeria recently found the bacteria in its manufacturing equipment.

Kroger refused to name its supplier. Kroger customers with recall questions may call 800-KROGERS from 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Similarly, Wildway did not respond for comment when asked its supplier. Wildway recalled its Apple Cinnamon, Banana Nut, Coconut Cashew, and Vanilla Bean Grain-Free granolas, as well as Trader Joe's Grainless Granola. Wildway customers with questions can call 844-617-8240 from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Friday morning, NOW Health Group expanded a May nut butter recall of Ellyndale Nutty Infusions Cashew Butters to include Roasted Almond Butter and Mango Chili Cashew Butter after a follow-up FDA inspection of the supplier's facility. NOW Foods spokesperson Alana Horinko said in an e-mail HVF was not the supplier, but didn't answer when asked what company was.

Friday night, New York City-based Chic-a-Peas recalled one lot each of its Baked Crunchy Chickpeas' Sea Salt, Fresh Salsa and Falafal varieties after learning of listeria at a supplier's facility.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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