Check your cupboard: Georgia farms recall Vidalia Onions over listeria concerns

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Mexican migrant workers harvest and sort onions at Sikes Farms in Collins, Ga., Monday, May 2, 2011.

Listeria can cause serious, sometimes fatal, infections

Georgia’s A&M Farms has issued a voluntary recall for select whole Vidalia onions due to a potential listeria contamination, the Lyons-based company announced in a letter to the FDA on Thursday. Listeria can cause serious, sometimes fatal, infections in young children, older adults and others with weakened immune systems.

A&M Farms announced the recall just days ahead of July 4 weekend, when Americans are expected to spend $7.7 billion on food alone.

“Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women,” the company said.

The voluntary recall affects select onions packed between June 20 and June 23. The onions potentially contaminated with listeria were sold in several states, including Georgia.

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The onions being recalled were sold in Publix stores across Barrow, Clarke, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Jackson, Oconee and Walton counties — as well as across Florida, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Customers can identify the recalled Vidalia onions by the Little Bear brand and the PLU sticker 4159. The onions were available for sale June 22 through June 24 in Georgia and Florida.

A&M Farms has not reported any illnesses or adverse events concerning the voluntary recall to the FDA, and the company expressed that the recall comes out of an abundance of caution.

“The recall comes after internal company testing detected Listeria on a single pack line,” the company said in its letter to the FDA. “Although the company cleans and sanitizes its pack lines regularly, it is recalling onions packed on the implicated packing line before and after June 21 out of an abundance of caution. No other products grown, packed, or sold by A&M Farms are affected by this recall.”

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Consumers with questions about the recall can call the company’s information desk at 1-912-585-2058. A&M Farms said that they immediately notified customers who received the recalled product directly from the company.

“The health and safety of consumers are our top priorities here at A&M Farms,” Aries Haygood, co-owner of A&M Farms, said in the letter. “We are glad that most of the implicated product never reached stores, but we are focused intently on alerting consumers in those areas that did receive the onions. We stopped packing on the implicated line, and I am personally overseeing a full cleaning and sanitation of the equipment and an internal review of our processes.”