Costco recalls cut broccoli because of E. coli O26

Non O157 STECs aren’t new but it’s still kinda notable when they pop up in recalls. The more folks look, whether buyers or suppliers are testing for them, the more folks find.

In 2015 E. coli O26 caused 60 illnesses (including 22 hospitalizations) associated with Chipotle. No source was identified, but the pathogen has been seen in both meats and produce. Today’s winner is cut broccoli.

According to a CFIA post, Costco is recalling Gold Coast brand broccoli florettes after someone found the pathogen. Or as CFIA so helpfully says, ‘This recall was triggered by the company.’

Gold Coast has a food safety page on their website. They say stuff like, ‘Microbiological Testing Program – Our new, fully equipped, in-house Microbiological Laboratory performs raw product, in process, finished product, and environmental testing.’


‘All raw and finished products are “lot coded” and can be traced back to specific suppliers, growers, ranches, fields, and plots.’

I look forward to hearing more.

Listeria positive leads to frozen broccoli recall

Alimentos Congelados, S.A. (Pinula) is voluntarily recalling 1,800 cases of Frozen Broccoli Cuts because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

list.broccoliThe Frozen Broccoli Cuts were distributed to stores in the following states: Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina.

The affected Frozen Broccoli Cuts were distributed in poly bags under the following label and code: WYLWOOD Fresh Frozen Broccoli Cuts, NET WT. 16 OZ (1 LB), UPC 5193300110, with bag code: A25335P and A15335P

The company has not received any complaints in relation to this product and is not aware of any illnesses associated with the product to date.

The recall was the result of retail package of Frozen Broccoli Cuts being tested by the State of Ohio Department of Agriculture. The Frozen Broccoli Cuts had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. The company has ceased distribution of Frozen Broccoli Cuts, and is fully cooperating with regulatory agencies.

Antimicrobial potential of cauliflower, broccoli, and okara byproducts against foodborne bacteria

The antimicrobial potential of cauliflower, broccoli, and okara byproducts was assessed against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Bacillus cereus, and Listeria monocytogenes serovar 4b.

cauliflowerGrowth behavior was assessed under exposure to 5% vegetable byproducts added to the reference medium, buffered peptone water (0.1% [wt/vol]), at 37°C. Although the byproducts were not effective against L. monocytogenes, they were bactericidal against Salmonella Typhimurium, E. coli O157:H7, and B. cereus. The most promising results were achieved with the cauliflower–Salmonella Typhimurium combination, because the bacterial population was reduced by 3.11 log10 cycles after 10 h of incubation at 37°C as a result of 5% cauliflower addition. Further studies were carried out for this combination, at different cauliflower concentrations (0, 0.5, 1, 5, 10, and 15%) and at temperatures in the range of 5–37°C. The greatest inactivation level (6.11 log10 cycles) was achieved at refrigeration temperature (5°C) using 15% cauliflower addition. Both temperature and cauliflower concentration significantly (p≤0.05) influenced the Salmonella Typhimurium inactivation level. The kinetic parameters were adjusted to mathematical models.

broccoliThe modified Gompertz mathematical model provided an accurate fit (root-mean-square error (RMSE) [0.00009–0.21] and adjusted-R2 [0.81–0.99]) to experimental Salmonella Typhimurium survival curves describing inactivation kinetics of the pathogen to the antimicrobial effect of cauliflower byproduct.


Antimicrobial potential of cauliflower, broccoli, and okara byproducts against foodborne bacteria

Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. January 2015, 12(1): 39-46

Sanz-Puig Maria, Pina-Pérez Maria C., Criado Maria Nieves, Rodrigo Dolores, and Martínez-López Antonio

Salmonella in broccoli salad sickens 1500 Japanese students

Broccoli salads provided for school lunches were the cause of massive food poisonings that occurred earlier this month at nine elementary and junior high schools in the city of Iwamizawa, the Hokkaido Prefectural Government said Wednesday.

An investigation has found that broccoli salads cooked at the city’s joint school meal cooking center for lunches on Feb. 9 were contaminated with salmonella and the same genotype of bacteria was confirmed in the stool of those who suffered the food poisoning.

More than 1,500 students had exhibited food poisoning symptoms by Tuesday but all are now recovering, according to the city’s board of education.

Company says snakehead was planted in T.G.I. Friday’s meal

T.G.I. Friday said a severed snake head found in a dish of broccoli at one of its upstate New York restaurants was likely planted in the meal.

The Carrollton, Texas, company says Friday it  asked the New York State Police to open a criminal investigation into product tampering. Spokeswoman Amy Freshwater said the snakehead was sent for testing at an independent laboratory that confirmed it had never been cooked and was added to the cooked broccoli.

Customer says: I’ve had it with these mofo snakes on this mofo broccoli

Jack Pendleton found a snakehead, the size of the end of his thumb, while eating Sunday at the T.G.I. Friday’s in Clifton Park, N.Y. The chain restaurant said it regrets the appetite-killing error. Pendleton said he has no plans to sue.

Pendleton, doing what all consumers should do to hold suppliers of food accountable, snapped a photo with his cellphone camera, then summoned the waiter.

Amy Freshwater, a spokeswoman for the chain, said in an e-mailed statement the company is trying to determine what happened.

"We are taking this situation very seriously. We immediately pulled the broccoli from this restaurant and began an extensive investigation. As a precautionary measure, we pulled broccoli from all restaurants that received product from this supplier. We have since isolated the specific lot date of the broccoli in question and have now reintroduced the product in all restaurants not included in the product hold."

When broccoli doesn’t make you barf

My husband just sent me a link with a recipe for some amazing broccoli – The Best Broccoli of Your Life, in fact.

It was a blog post by The Amateur Gourmet, lauding the cooking style of The Barefoot Contessa.

The Barefoot Contessa loves roasting. Specifically, she loves roasting vegetables at a high temperature until they caramelize.

As the recipe for roasted broccoli is relayed, The Amateur Gourmet reveals a secret that the Contessa doesn’t share:

[D]ry them THOROUGHLY. That is, if you wash them.

I saw an episode of Julia Child cooking with Jacques Pepin once when Pepin revealed he doesn’t wash a chicken before putting it in a hot oven: "The heat kills all the germs," he said in his French accent. "If bacteria could survive that oven, it deserves to kill me."

By that logic, then, I didn’t wash my broccoli; I wanted it to get crispy and brown. If you’re nervous, though, just wash and dry it obsessively.

USDA agrees that, "It is not necessary to wash raw chicken. Any bacteria which might be present are destroyed by cooking." Though the temperature is measured in the food – not the oven.

You can be sure chicken is safe if a tip-sensitive digital thermometer reads 165 F in the thickest part of it.

Not much is said about temps for vegetables, though. I vaguely remember the test for ServSafe certification a few years ago suggesting they reach 135 F, but that’s not even out of the 40 F – 140 F “danger zone” and I have no science to back it.

I have seen the science on the internalization of pathogens in some produce and in such cases washing will not make vegetables any safer to eat.

So I might just cook it unwashed. Or I might be “obsessive.” Either way, I’ve got what I need to make an informed decision; it’ll be my choice and not my ignorance that leaves the possibility for pathogens in.

Tenko the gecko found in broccoli, adopted by family

And I thought I was emotionally deprived ‘cause I only had a cold-blooded pet – a turtle – as a child.

Some kid in Meole Brace, near Shrewsbury, which is apparently in the U.K., found a four-inch gecko in broccoli purchased from supermarket Tesco.

Mother Paula Walsh said,

"My daughter had been cutting the broccoli for lunch when she screamed, ‘Mum come quick, come quick – there’s something crawling in the broccoli’. I pulled gently and out he came."

The family decided to keep the little salmonella factory and named it Tenko the gecko.

Tesco said its suppliers had rigorous and thorough checking processes but was glad Tenko had found a good home.