Listeria Concerns Lead to Recall of More Than 400 Ready-to-Eat Foods Sold in 9 States

The recall involves a wide range of items sold from vending machines, at stores, and on trains, including Amtrak’s popular Acela and Northeast Regional train routes.

Food-Sold-on-Amtrak-Trains-FDA Recalled-for-Possible-Listeria-Contamination
Amtrak told customers by email that all the affected product lots had been removed from its trains.Richard Pross/Shutterstock

More than 400 ready-to-eat food items sold under a variety of brand names are being recalled because of potential listeria contamination, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The recall by Fresh Ideation Food Group involves prepared foods sold in stores, vending machines, and trains in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, DC, from January 24 through January 30, said the FDA in a February 3 statement.

“The products include sandwiches, salads, snacks, yogurt, wraps, and related products,” according to the statement. “No illnesses have been reported to date.” Fresh Ideation initiated the recall after environmental samples tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

The foods were sold on two of Amtrak’s busiest train lines, the Acela and Northeast Regional routes, according to the New York Times.

All the recalled products have a Fresh Creative Cuisine label or identifier on the bottom of the label, with the Fresh Creative Cuisine name and a fresh-through or sell-through date range of January 31, 2023, through February 6, 2023.

Consumers who have purchased the products can contact Fresh Ideation at 855-969-3338.

How Does Listeria Make You Sick?

Listeria monocytogenes can cause a serious infection known as listeriosis. People may become sick a few hours after exposure, or it may take up to 30 days for symptoms to appear, according to the FDA.

Most people who become infected experience only brief, mild illness, but people with autoimmune conditions and individuals over the age of 65 can develop life-threatening infections in the bloodstream or brain.

Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Pregnant people may experience some flu-like symptoms, but are also at risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infections in their newborns.

Listeriosis can be diagnosed with a simple lab test and treated with antibiotics. About 1,600 cases occur in the United States each year, but one in five infections are fatal, the agency says.

Thirty years ago, listeria contamination mostly occurred in processed meats like cold cuts and hot dogs, according to the CDC, but today the bacteria are most often found in dairy and produce.

Many of the ready-to-eat foods involved in the latest recall included cheese or other dairy products.