Enoki Mushrooms Recalled Over Deadly Listeria Outbreak in 17 States
The new coronavirus isn't the only public health threat facing the U.S. right now.
"Until we learn more about the source and distribution of the enoki mushrooms, CDC advises that people at higher risk for Listeria infections – pregnant women, adults ages 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer or on dialysis – avoid eating any enoki mushrooms labeled as 'Product of Korea,'" the agency advised.
RECALL ALERT: Recall of enoki mushrooms linked to Listeria outbreak. Don’t eat, serve, or sell recalled enoki mushr… https://t.co/DzWmVesW4E— CDC (@CDC)1583873822.0
The CDC warning came a day after California-based Sun Hong Foods recalled all cases of its enoki mushrooms labeled "Product of Korea" after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alerted the company that samples of its product had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes in Michigan.
"Enoki mushrooms are white, with long stems and small caps," the FDA explained. "They're usually sold in clusters."
The mushrooms are popular in East Asian cooking and are also called enokitake, golden needle, futu or lily mushrooms, according to USA Today.
The affected mushrooms were packaged in a white cardboard box, and then in clear plastic bags with green labels, according to the FDA. They have a Universal Product Code of 7 426852 625810 and were distributed in Washington, California, Florida, Illinois, Oregon and Texas. They are carried by J&L Supermarket, Jusgo Supermarket, ZTao Market, New Sang Supermarket and Galleria Market.
FDA is investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to enoki mushrooms from Sun… https://t.co/9UEXMNv2Ua— Media Affairs (@Media Affairs)1583874888.0
The outbreak so far has sickened a total of 36 people in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia, according to the CDC. Cases began to emerge between Nov. 23, 2016 and Dec. 13, 2019. The four deaths occurred in California, Hawaii and New Jersey.
People infected with listeriosis usually begin to have symptoms one to four weeks after eating contaminated food, though infections can begin as late as 70 days after exposure.
Pregnant people usually come down with flu-like symptoms such as fever and muscle ache, but it can have dangerous consequences for their children. Six of the people to fall ill in the current outbreak were pregnant, and two of these cases resulted in the loss of the infant.
In non-pregnant people, symptoms include flu-like symptoms as well as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions. While otherwise healthy people will likely only experience symptoms for a short amount of time, the disease can have deadly consequences for children, elderly people or those with weakened immune systems, according to the FDA.
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By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.