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Texas plant recalls over 14,000 pounds of hummus

Food supply safety takes a hit this week
Food supply safety takes a hit this week
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

A plant in Texas recalled over fourteen thousand pounds of hummus this week after an FDA inspection found a risk of listeria contamination, as released to the media on their website. The recall affects several brands packaged by Giant Eagle, Tryst, Target’s Archer Farms, and some Trader Joe’s units. Trader Joe’s popular franchise has regional outlets in Philadelphia and Ardmore.

Listeria is an infection which causes fever, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and stiffness. It can pose a threat to those with weakened immune systems, can be fatal to small children, the elderly, and is a known risk for miscarriage. Of those confirmed cases of infection, however, preliminary investigation has traced the outbreak to raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts LLC, according to the CDC.

Patients who have taken ill from the sprouts reside in Idaho and Washington state, and state health officials are advising consumers not to eat the clover sprouts. This advisory is similarly extended to the hummus product recall in the Midwest and Northeast. The affected hummus brands should be discarded or returned to their place of purchase for a refund.

Hummus dip is an Arabic food made primarily from crushed chickpeas blended with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and tahini, a paste made from ground and hulled sesame seeds. It blends well with raw vegetables, runs to approximately 50 calories per serving, contains B vitamins and other macronutrients such that it is marketed as a healthy alternative to cheese or mayonnaise based dips, so much so that Sabra Dipping Co., which is estimated to own 60% of the hummus market, has petitioned the FDA to set the standard for which processed foods can actually be labeled hummus.

The company claims that some retailed dips labeled hummus have been made from legumes other than chickpeas. “Because these products substitute other legumes, the marketing of these products as "hummus" undermines honesty and fair dealing." The company writes.

The FDA does have the authority to write definitions for specific foods which would benefit consumers, but perhaps clear and concise guidelines on bio diversity in food preparation would produce better health outcomes.