While enoki mushrooms may be the star of your ramen, you should hold off on your next few trips to the grocery store. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a recall on enoki mushrooms, commonly used in household and restaurant cooking, due to a listeria monocytogenes contamination.
Initially identified in a sample taken from enoki mushrooms imported from Korea and now China, public health officials have advised consumers to avoid packages of enoki mushrooms from wholesale companies Utopia Foods and Shandong Youhe Biotechnology Co. due to potential listeria contamination.
Due to its preferred environment among vegetation, listeria outbreaks can occur due to cross-contamination of fresh and decaying vegetables, or in this case, fungi.
While listeria monocytogenes is a species of bacteria that usually thrives on decaying animals or vegetation, this disease-causing pathogen can survive within your refrigerator and cause listeriosis if consumed.
Listeriosis can cause nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and fever in minor cases but can become life-threatening in some cases, especially for pregnant women and their newborns, people over the age of 65, and individuals with compromised immune systems.
Symptoms of listeriosis can begin within two to three hours after consumption of food contaminated with listeria monocytogenes but can develop over a few weeks in more severe cases. In these cases, the infection can cause high fever, severe headache, loss of balance, convulsions, and death.
As mentioned, pregnant women and their newborns are at high levels of possible health risk when exposed to listeria monocytogenes, including serious pregnancy complications like miscarriages or stillbirths. Babies born with a listeria infection are at higher risk of health complications during infancy.
Young children and the elderly are also at high risk of hospitalization due to listeriosis. Those with compromised immune systems should also be wary of this, and other recalls due to outbreaks.
If you belong to any of these groups and suspect you have listeriosis, seek the care of a medical professional immediately.
The recall initially began in November of 2022. However, as of January 27, 2023, enoki mushrooms distributed by Utopia Foods or produced by Shandong Youhe Biotechnology Co. are still believed to be contaminated with listeria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Consumers are advised to avoid eating enoki mushrooms at restaurants and avoid the following enoki mushrooms in retail stores:
Enoki mushrooms distributed by Utopia Foods of Glendale, NY
Enoki mushrooms produced by Shandong Youhe Biotechnology Co.
Both of these brands are among the recalled enoki mushrooms. According to CDC.gov, consumers are advised to avoid buying enoki mushrooms and to throw out already purchased recalled products.
If you have purchased enoki mushrooms from either of the brands mentioned above, throw them out immediately. If you have already consumed these mushrooms and are experiencing symptoms of listeriosis, contact a healthcare provider immediately.
Due to listeria monocytogenes’ ability to thrive on decaying food, understanding food safety practices is essential when storing enoki mushrooms or any other fungi, meat, or vegetable.
Enoki mushrooms can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator unopened in their original package. Once opened, the mushrooms can be stored in a paper bag for up to a week before going bad.
To clean your enoki mushrooms before consuming, pick out any discolored or slimy stems from the bunch, then run them under cold water.