The California Department of Public Health is alerting consumers who have purchased prepackaged hummus salad, wraps and sandwiches to be aware that the products may be contaminated with a dangerous bacteria that can cause serious health problems.
The products, under the "Raquel's" brand name, were voluntarily recalled by manufacturer Quong Hop & Co. after sampling conducted by the department detected the bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes, in a processing plant, according to the department.
Affected hummus products have a date of Sept. 23, 2010 and prior; salads, wraps, sandwiches and other food items have product dates of Aug. 3, 2010 and prior.
Consumers who purchased these products should immediately discard them or return them to their place of purchase.
Anyone who handles these products is advised to wash their hands thoroughly afterward.
In addition to the bacteria concerns, an allergen, soy lecitin, is used in the production of hummus but it is not mentioned on the label.
Short-term symptoms of the bacterial infection include fever, headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Consumers with any of these symptoms should contact a physician.
Infants, seniors and those with a weakened immune system are especially susceptible to a Listeria infection, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal complications. Pregnant women are also at risk of miscarriages and stillbirths if infected with the bacteria.
Raquel's is distributed to supermarkets and natural food stores in several western states, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.