Listeria in low moisture foods? Sure. Sabra hummus recalled; I chucked mine

My kids don’t eat much. Their staples include bagels, buns, peanut butter, carrots, apple sauce.

And hummus.

Their brand of choice is Sabra.

I just got home from a hockey game (a 7-2 loss, we got smoked) and opened up my email and saw that a few Sabra hummus products have been recalled due to Listeria. According to a recall notice on the FDA website, it’s only few specific lots, and the recall was initiated following a routine sample by Michigan regulatory folks found contamination.SubstandardFullSizeRender-1

And I’m left with a bunch of questions. I need to know this stuff to better understand the risk to my kids.

How much contamination was there (10 cfu/g? 1,000,000 cfu/g?)?

How long was the product in storage/transport before I bought it. Now that I think of it, how long has it been in my fridge?

The stuff I have been feeding my kids has different codes. Were the containers I have made in the same facility? On the same line?

And why is Sabra so specific about the recalled SKUs? Did they have a sanitation clean break between lots?

SubstandardFullSizeRender-4Have they validated their sanitation procedures?

How well did the sanitation crew do their job?

We’ve seen other recalls expand as further information is discovered, will this one?

In the absence of answers (to stuff that should go into a recall notice) I’m chucking the half-finished containers.

And we’ll buy a different brand tomorrow.


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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.