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Outbreak Summary

A deadly outbreak of Listeria infections has been traced back to enoki mushrooms distributed by Sun Hong Foods, Inc.

Four people have already died. Thirty-six have been sickened, and 30 have been hospitalized. Nine people have been sickened in California, and multiple people have become sick in each of New York, Virginia, Florida, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Maryland so far.

OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers are continuing to investigate this developing outbreak, and this page will update as further information becomes available.

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More Details

Outbreak of Listeria Linked to Enoki Mushrooms

March 10, 2020 —

OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers are investigating a serious nationwide outbreak of Listeria infections that public health officials have linked to enoki mushrooms. Enoki mushrooms have long, skinny stems with small white caps.

Mushrooms imported from South Korea by Sun Hong Foods, Inc. have been implicated and recalled. No one should eat, serve, or sell any enoki mushrooms distributed by Sun Hong Foods. Because the ultimate source of the Listeria is still under investigation, the CDC recommends that no one eat any enoki mushrooms labeled as “Product of Korea.”

The outbreak has already sickened at least 36 people—causing 30 hospitalizations and 4 deaths—in 17 different states:

Cases linked to this outbreak stretch back to at least November of last year, and more cases are likely to arise despite the recall. This is because Listeria has a long incubation period—it can take two months or more for the illness to arise after the bacteria has been consumed.

OFT Listeria lawyer Ryan Osterholm said, “Listeria in, on, or near ready-to-eat food is simply unacceptable, and listeriosis can be a very serious, life-threatening condition. Four people have already died in this outbreak. Anyone responsible for distributing or selling these mushrooms should be held to account—that is the only way to stop this from happening again.”

What is Listeria?

Listeriosis is a serious infection usually contracted from food contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes. Anyone can contract this bacterial infection, but pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and individuals with compromised immune systems are most at risk.

Listeriosis can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women, as it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature delivery. According to the CDC, Listeriosis causes a fetal loss in about 20% of cases. Newborns can also suffer a life-threatening infection. The CDC reports newborn death occurs in about 3% of cases. When a pregnant woman notices the symptoms of Listeriosis, it is important to seek medical care immediately to protect the pregnancy.

Individuals with weak immune systems and the elderly are more likely to develop severe infections in the bloodstream or brain, which can be fatal. Listeriosis can also affect other parts of the body, including the bones and joints.

Severe Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics. Prompt treatment of severe symptoms is important and dramatically reduces the risk of more severe complications.

Common Symptoms of Listeria

Listeriosis symptoms can vary dramatically from person to person. In less serious cases, the infection may remain in the gut and cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, however the Listeria bacteria will spread beyond the gut, This is known as invasive listeriosis. When Listeria spreads to the nervous system, individuals can experience:

  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Changes in alertness
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Convulsions
  • Sensitivity to light

Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical care right away. These can be signs of bacterial meningitis, which can cause severe complications, disabilities, and death.

Contact us for more information

OFT Food Safety & Injury Lawyers is a national food safety law firm and offers free consultations to anybody potentially impacted by this outbreak. Listeria lawyers Ryan Osterholm and Brendan Flaherty have represented people sickened by Listeria throughout the country, and can your questions and help you pursue compensation.

Notable Recoveries

$10 million

Seven infants were sickened after consuming a contaminated food product marketed to infants

$6.5 million

Verdict on behalf of a little boy who contracted a severe Salmonella infection from chicken

$7.55 million

Verdict on behalf of a little girl who contracted E. coli at a petting zoo

$2.25 million

E. coli infections contracted from a major fast food chain

$45 million

An over-the-counter medication caused severe kidney damage to multiple users

$3.4 million

A pregnant woman contracted a Listeria infection from contaminated fruit and passed the infection to her child

$3 million

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