What You Need To Know About The Recent Kimchi Recall

On July 13, Chicago-based 5000 Years Foods, Inc. recalled several of its cabbage-based kimchi products because of possible listeria contamination (via U.S. Food and Drug Administration). The items are Sliced Cabbage Kimchi, Whole Cabbage Kimchi, Julrado Whole Cabbage Kimchi, No MSG Whole Cabbage Kimchi, No MSG Julrado Sliced Cabbage Kimchi, White Kimchi, and Baby Napa Kimchi.

According to the recall notice, affected products might have reached store shelves and restaurants throughout the United States. The recalled products were sold in 16-, 32-, 64-, and 128-oz. jars and in institutional-sized, 5-gallon plastic tubs. Products bearing the codes "09052021" through "09252021" on their lids are all subject to the recall. The decision came after FDA testing at the 5000 Years Food production facility revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, a species of bacteria that can survive in foods preserved by refrigeration or other measures (via the FDA).

As of this writing, no cases of listeriosis stemming from the 5000 Years products have been reported.

Listeria can cause serious illness

Although no cases of illness related to 5000 Years Foods kimchi have surfaced so far, Listeria contamination should not be taken lightly. Listeriosis, the disease caused by the bacteria (per the CDC), can be deadly for very young, elderly, or immunocompromised people who are exposed to it. In pregnant people, listeria can cause miscarriage and stillbirth. Even in healthy individuals, listeriosis can result in "short-term fever, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea," says the FDA.

The World Health Organization notes that listeriosis has been known to spread through such foods as fermented meat and coleslaw. Kimchi, a popular side dish in Korean cuisine, has been compared to a spicy coleslaw (via the Toronto Star). It's made of fermented vegetables, including Napa cabbage, radishes, carrots, or cucumbers, or a combination of them.

If you have any of the 5000 Years Foods cabbage kimchi products in your pantry or refrigerator, you are urged not to eat them. Toss the kimchi or return it to the store where you bought it for a refund. People with questions about the recall or about 5000 Years Foods products can reach the company by phone at 1-773-509-8600.