Government officials say a listeria-related sprout recall by Henry’s Farm Inc. is hampered because the sprouts were sent to retailers without lot codes or other traceable labeling.
As of mid-afternoon April 30, it was not known what quantities of the Spring Water Soybean Sprouts and Spring Water Natto Soybean Sprouts had been distributed. No illnesses had been reported.
The initial April 27 recall by the Woodford, Va., company involved sprouts sent to retailers in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Test samples taken by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Safety showed positive results for listeria monocytogenes.
Henry’s Farm expanded the recall April 30 to include the natto sprouts. Calls to the company did not go through because its voicemail system was full and not accepting messages.
Elaine Lidholm, director of communications for the Virginia agriculture department, said inspectors from the department and the Food and Drug Administration were at Henry’s Farm April 30 as part of a continuing investigation. She said an interpreter might have to be called in to communicate with Soo Park, the owner of Henry’s Farm.
The initial samples came from product displayed at retail on April 17.
“We cannot provide a figure on how many sprouts have been recalled,” Lidholm said. “This is gonna be a hard one since we don’t know how many were distributed initially due to no lot coding.
“Hopefully, as our investigation continues we’ll have a better idea of that,” she said. “But I don’t think that will be today (April 30). Who knows about tomorrow. … We’re going after this hot and heavy.”
Henry’s Farm ships to retailers and foodservice operators, but investigators didn’t have a full list of recipients as of April 30.
According to the state agricultural department, the soybean sprouts are in 1.5-pound clear plastic packages and 10-pound plastic bags; the natto soybean sprouts are in 1-pound packages.