WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food & Drug Administration found Listeria in
processed celery and in multiple locations at a San Antonio, TX, plant when it
inspected SanGar Fresh Cut Produce, the firm being investigated for an
outbreak that has resulted in four deaths.
The plant was shuttered Oct. 20 by the Texas Department of State Health
Services and ordered to recall all products shipped since January after Texas
officials found the outbreak strain in celery and the company reportedly
refused to conduct a recall. The state is investigating 10 Listeria cases.
In a Nov. 3 statement, the FDA said it tested processed finished product and
environmental samples during an Oct. 14-15 inspection. "The results indicate
the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause severe
illness, in processed celery and in multiple locations in the plant
environment, including on food contact surfaces. The Listeria identified in
FDA samples matches the DNA fingerprint of the clinical cases of Listeriosis
reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services."
The agency also released the related 483 form, which listed 19 observations
FDA inspectors noted as possible violations during a seven-day inspection.
“FDA continues to work closely with Texas food-safety officials to review
corrective actions being taken by the company to eliminate the presence of
Listeria monocytogenes at its facility,” the agency's statement said.