Listeria Contamination Of Sunflower Seeds And Potential Undeclared Peanut Content Prompt Latest Batch Of Recalls

Sunflower seeds potentially contaminated by listeria could have made it into many manufactured food products, which has prompted wide-ranging recalls.
Sunflower seeds potentially contaminated by listeria could have made it into many manufactured food products, which has prompted wide-ranging recalls.

A voluntary recall by SunOpta of sunflower seeds due to possible listeria contamination is having a huge trickle-down effect, prompting dozens of recalls of big, brand-name food products. A similar series of recalls have been issued due to the accidental inclusion of peanuts in flour. 

The potential sunflower seed contamination was first communicated by SunOpta on May 4. The company initially stated that the products were produced between Febuary 1 and February 19 of this year. However, they soon massively expanded the date range to sunflower seeds produced between May 31, 2015 and January 31, 2016.

Sunflower seeds are an ingredient in many other products, including granola and snack bars. The trickle-down effects of the recall has led to subsequent recalls by Kroger’s (salad toppings, sunflower seeds and trail mix), Kashi (chewy granola bars and cereal), Quaker (granola bars and yogurt with granola), Clif Bar (energy bars) and Atkins (diet snack bars). That is only to name a few. All related recalls are listed on the FDA web site and date back to SunOpta’s original recall on May 4.

A recall by flour manufacturer Grain Craft has had a similar effect on big brands that include Frito-Lay, Kellogg and Hostess. Peanut residue was discovered in batches of Grain Craft’s soft red wheat winter flour. The flour was then used in Hostess snack cakes, Rold Gold pretzels, Chick-fil-A chocolate chip cookies, Keebler cookies and more.

Because these items aren’t supposed to contain peanuts, the risk is that the inclusion constitutes an undeclared allergen. Peanut allergies are among the most common and life-threatening symptoms can result from accidental consumption, including anaphylaxis (impaired breathing and shock).

People who are concerned they may have purchased the recalled products should check the FDA web site for related notices, which include contact information for the manufacturer. Affected products should be discarded or returned to the point of purchase for a refund. 


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