Mann Packing, of Salinas, California, is notable for selling what they call “veggies made easy.” They’re prepared, but minimally so: raw vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and Brussels sprouts cut into smaller, more appealing pieces, like florets, ribbons, or slaw. The idea is to remove any barrier to use. There’s nothing to prepare – the vegetables are even prewashed, so you can toss them right from the bag into the pan.
But last week, the company issued a huge recall for many of their products due to fears of listeria. (You can see the full list over at the FDA’s website.) Contamination with the listeria bacteria was found in a single sample by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which is essentially the Canadian version of the FDA. (Many of these foods are sold in both the US and Canada.)
No sicknesses have been reported, but in the interest of caution, Mann’s is recalling products like shaved Brussels sprouts, carrot ribbons, cauliflower “rice” curry, and kohlrabi salad. These products are sold at a variety of stores, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Meijer, and Walmart, among many others.
Listeria contamination is very common, responsible for that massive recall of Sabra hummus, but perhaps best known for something more similar to incident: the bagged spinach recalls of 2016. That spinach, like the Mann products, was pre-washed. It would be reasonable to assume that a pre-washed product would be clean; why else would you bother washing something?
The FDA does not recommend washing pre-washed vegetables yourself, saying, “If the package indicates that the contents have been pre-washed and are ready-to-eat, you can use the product without further washing,” adding that “It is unlikely that consumer washing of such products will make the product cleaner compared to a commercial triple wash.” However, research indicates that washing, either by the producer or the consumer, doesn’t necessarily remove the risk of foodborne illness. That’s why constant vigilance and regulation (including from our neighbors up north) is so important.
If you’ve bought a bagged, slightly processed bunch of vegetables recently, double-check the FDA’s list here to make sure you don’t have an affected batch.