Willamette Valley Brands Hit With Massive Vegetable Recall

Posted In : Food Safety

NORPAC and Stahlbush Island Farms, two brands owned by Willamette Valley, are recalling frozen vegetables purchased from a food processor at the center of a massive outbreak of Listeria, after 358 fruit and vegetable products provided by CRF Frozen Foods were believed to be contaminated.

Stahlbush Island Farms is recalling its 10-ounce paper bags of green beans which were sold in the Pasco area, due to processing by CRF Frozen Foods, the apparent epicenter of the contamination. Karla Chambers, owner of Stahlbush Isand Farms, says that although the family farm cultivates 5,000 acres in Oregon, they occasionally have to work with other growers and processors, like CRF.

“That green been equipment is very expensive” said Chambers, “We by far grow and process the majority of products but it’s not uncommon for us to work with a processor”

In a similar recall, NORPAC is recalling bags of mixed vegetables and green peas sold under its Natural Directions label due to their distribution with CRF Frozen Foods.

“What happens is many manufacturers in the region purchase bulk organic produce from CRF and repackage for private-label branding” said Amy Wood, spokeswoman for NORPAC.

So far eight people have been infected by strains of Listeria, although no cases have been a result of Stahlbush or NORPAC’s vegetables.

CRF Frozen Foods, a food producer which packages products sold under multiple names and brands, sits on 8000 acres at Thremile Canyon Farm in Boardman, Oregon, and is also the site one of the largest dairies in the nation, as the manure from the dairy is used to fertilize the crops.

The US Food and Drug Administration has also traced a closely related strain of Listeria back to an unrelated farm in Oregon.

“[the] FDA is working to identify other parts of the relevant supply chain that may have product relating to this outbreak, however [the] FDA is prohibited by law from releasing publicly certain information about supply chains, which may constitute confidential commercial information.” Said the agency in a press release.

Consumers with recalled products are encouraged to discard the items or return them to a store for a full refund.