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What's the deal with celery?
The Texas Department of State Health Services told SanGar Produce & Processing Co. to shut down its food processing plant after a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in chopped celery caused five Listeria deaths. SanGar issued the recall Wednesday of their celery. According to the DSHS, the celery was cut fresh and put in sealed packages that were sent to schools, hospitals and restaurants. They do not believe the celery has been shipped to shops and stores.
According to Medical News Today, Listeria can trigger miscarriages, cause stillbirths and premature births and potentially cause life-threatening infections in very young children, elderly individuals and others with a weakened immune system. The DSHS has conducted lab tests and found that listeriosis has been reported a total of ten times in Bexar, Travis and Hidalgo counties. Five Listeria deaths have been reported. Six of the cases were linked back to the chopped celery at the SanGar plant.
Apparently the outbreak happened in part to due a failure to properly sanitize the celery and other foods at the plant. An investigation found soil on a prep table, insufficient hand hygiene and a condensation leak above the food product area. The plant will not be allowed to reopen until health authorities say that the plant is safe.
Experts say that it is very difficult to accurately determine how many people suffer listeria infections, because most of the time it isn't serious enough for them to seek a doctor. Instead, they experience flu-like symptoms which run their course.
If you are concerned that you might have a listeriosis infection, the symptoms include: diarrhea, fever, muscle aches and chills. Once the infection moves past the digestive system it becomes far more serious and symptoms include mental changes, confusion, headaches, convulsions, seizures, stiffness and other signs of loss of mind and body control.