Enoki Mushrooms Were Named The Most Recalled Food Of The Year

In 2022, there were over 280 food safety alerts and recalls from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These happened for many reasons, including undisclosed allergens, stray metal parts, and the potential presence of Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria is a dangerous bacterial organism that causes "high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea" (via FDA). In vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, Listeria can be fatal. It can also cause serious complications for pregnant people. This bacteria flourishes in cool and moist environments, the same sort of environment that mushrooms need to thrive, per Food Poisoning Bulletin.

Historically, the most common sources for Listeria outbreaks have been deli meats, but these days produce and dairy products are the main culprits, especially "soft cheeses, celery, sprouts, cantaloupe, and ice cream," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, enoki mushrooms, a type of mushroom known for their bright white color, long thin stems, and tiny caps, have now taken first place as the most recalled food of the year.

There may be even enoki mushroom recalls

In 2020, a Listeria outbreak from Korean-sourced enoki mushrooms affected 40 people, four of whom died as a result (via Food Poisoning Bulletin). Because of this, the FDA ramped up testing of enoki mushrooms, especially those coming from Korea, China, and Taiwan. There have since been numerous enoki mushroom recalls, with 11 recalls in 2022 alone. Following the onslaught of positive Listeria tests in enoki mushrooms, the FDA effectively banned their import in July 2022.

According to the Food Poisoning Bulletin, the most recent recall on November 17 by Green Day Produce based out of Vernon, California is troublesome because they should never have imported Korean enoki mushrooms in the first place. The Packer reports that the mushrooms were sold across the United States between September and October. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development tested this particular shipment because of a reported outbreak. However, the Listeria strain that made people sick does not match the strain found in the recalled shipment. This means that either previous shipments from Green Day Produce were affected or that other brands of enoki mushrooms are also contaminated.

The CDC urges those in high-risk groups to avoid eating raw enoki mushrooms and to wash their hands thoroughly after handling them. Customers that purchased the 7.05-ounce clear plastic packages of enoki mushrooms from Green Day Produce with UPC 16430-69080 are encouraged to return them for a full refund. They can also contact the company directly at (323) 587-4688 or william@greendayinc.com (via FDA).