Enoki Mushrooms Blamed for Deadly Listeria Outbreak

The fungi were responsible for 36 reported cases over the past four years, according to the CDC.

Perhaps the last news you want to read about during a pandemic is yet another outbreak. But the latest food-safety alert from the Centers for Disease Control actually involves an ongoing string of listeria cases reported over the past four years, resulting in 31 hospitalizations and four deaths. The culprit? Enoki mushrooms.

Enoki Mushroom
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On Tuesday, the CDC issued an update to its co-investigation with the Food and Drug Administration, as well as state and local agencies, stating that 36 total listeria cases across 17 states and stretching as far back as 2016 were linked to enoki mushrooms sold by three companies—Sun Hong Foods, Inc., Guan’s Mushroom Co., and H&C Food, Inc.—and supplied by a Korean company, Green Co. Ltd. The tainted mushrooms were purchased as recently as December 2019 and officially recalled beginning on April 7, 2020.

However, there's no need to worry if you're planning to cook any recipes that include enoki mushrooms: The potentially contaminated mushrooms would be well beyond their salable shelf life at this point and are no longer on the market.

And if you're concerned you may have purchased listeria-laden enoki or any other contaminated produce, the CDC recommends sanitizing all surfaces and containers that may have come into contact with the items to avoid cross-contamination. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures as well, so clear out the crisper drawer if necessary.

According to the CDC, symptoms of listeria can take weeks to appear, and some reports say symptoms didn't appearing until as many as 70 days after consumption. Symptoms can include headaches, a stiff neck, loss of balance, confusion, fever, and aching.

But the silver lining (if you can call it that) is unlike the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, both the FDA and CDC are declaring this listeria outbreak to be officially over.

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