Four Deaths Attributed to Listeriosis Caused by San Antonio Food Processing Plant

Texas health officials are investigating four deaths that are believed to have been caused by tainted celery from The Sangar Produce & Processing Co., a San Antonio food processing plant. Health officials found celery from the plant was contaminated with listeriosis, a bacteria that causes the deadly foodborne illness.

The Texas Department of State Health Services ordered Sangar Fresh Cut Produce to stop processing food and recall all products shipped from the plant since January. The order was issued after laboratory tests of chopped celery from the plant indicated the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause severe illness.

State law allows DSHS to issue such orders when conditions exist that pose “an immediate and serious threat to human life or health.”

The recalled products – primarily cut fresh produce in sealed packages – were distributed to restaurants and institutional entities, such as hospitals and schools, and are not believed to be sold in grocery stores.

The testing was done as part of a DSHS investigation into 10 listeriosis cases, including five deaths, reported to the department over an eight-month period. Six of the 10 cases have been linked to chopped celery from the Sangar plant. The illnesses occurred in Bexar, Travis and Hidalgo counties. All of the illnesses were in people with serious underlying health problems.

Health officials said pinpointing a Listeria source is often difficult due to the small number of cases, the illness’ long incubation period and difficulty collecting complete information about what people ate.

DSHS inspectors also found sanitation issues at the plant and believe the Listeria found in the chopped celery may have contaminated other food produced there. The department found a condensation leak above a food product area, soil on a preparation table and hand washing issues. DSHS food safety personnel are contacting distributors, restaurants and institutions believed to have received the recalled products to ensure they are taking appropriate action to protect consumers.

DSHS continues to investigate possible sources of contamination and where the products were distributed. Sangar’s customers are advised to discard or return the products. Cooking the products is not recommended.

Symptoms of listeriosis can include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and vomiting. People with these symptoms should consult a physician. Symptoms typically occur three to 70 days after exposure. The disease affects primarily older people, pregnant women, newborns and people with weakened immune systems.

The order prohibits the plant from reopening without DSHS approval. 

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Easy to Use Safety Incident App

    Record incidents on the go with IndustrySafe’s mobile app. Collect data for multiple types of incidents including including near misses, vehicle and environmental incidents, and employee and non-employee injuries; at job sites and remote locations—with or without web access.

  • Complete Online Safety Training Courses

    Deliver state-of-the art, online safety training courses to your organization with IndustrySafe Training Management Software. Generate reports to track training compliance and automatically notify learners of upcoming or overdue classes.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus