Parkers Farm, the Coon Rapids food company known for its peanut butter and line of refrigerated snacks, is recalling more than a dozen products after state investigators found some were contaminated with listeria, an infection-causing bacterium.
No illnesses have been reported, but the Minnesota Department of Agriculture issued an alert Saturday for consumers to avoid 15 Parkers Farm's cheese spreads, peanut butter and other products.
The department said Parkers Farm is cooperating with the investigation. A message left with the company wasn't returned Saturday, but the company said in a statement on its website that the recall is a precaution even though no recalled products sold at retail stores have been associated with any illnesses.
State investigators testing the company's products found some were contaminated with listeria monocytogenes bacteria, which can cause a rare but serious disease, especially for infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea.
The incident is the second listeria-related recall in four years for Parkers Farm. In 2010, the company had a similar extensive recall, although no illnesses were reported. That year, Parkers Farm temporarily shut down its plant and was fined $1,900 for selling adulterated food, losing control of its manufacturing process and failing to adequately train and supervise workers. The company also had to reimburse the state for $46,000 in lab testing related to the recall.
On Saturday, the Agriculture Department advised anyone who may have gotten sick from the recalled products to contact a health care provider and urged consumers who have purchased recalled products to return or discard them.
The products are distributed nationwide to stores such as Cub Foods, Rainbow, Lunds, Whole Foods and Target under various labels — Parkers Farm, Parkers, Happy Farms, Central Markets, Hy-Top, Amish Classic, Say Cheez, Win Schuler, and Bucky Badger.
The recalled items include Parkers peanut butter, salsa and spreads.