PASCO, WASHINGTON: CRF Frozen Foods is working with Kglobal as it recalls frozen fruit and vegetable products due to listeria concerns in all 50 states and Canada.
Eight people have fallen ill due to the bacteria since 2013.
Kglobal partner Gene Grabowski and a team of three are handling media and public communications for the company. He has been working with CRF since last month, when it closed its processing plant in Pasco, Washington, and began a widespread recall.
CRF has recalled more than 350 foods under 42 brands. Its products are sold in retailers such as Costco, Target, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway. It is the largest food-related recall in years, according to various media reports.
"We like to rip the Band-Aid off all at once," Grabowski said. "It looks more explosive and dramatic when you do a big recall, but in the long run, it ends up being less expensive and less damaging."
One complication is that individual retailers are issuing their own recalls for products already covered by CRF’s action. Grabowski said that is resulting in more media interest and magnifying the scope of the recall, making it look worse than it really is.
Listeria is a less dangerous bacteria than other foodborne illnesses, particularly in this situation where cooking the frozen food will often kill the bacteria. There have been two deaths linked to the outbreak, but listeria was not the primary cause of death in either case. Grabowski noted that the number of illnesses, eight, has not increased since the start of this month.
CRF has been trying to find the source of listeria since it shut down the plant in April, Grabowski said.
"In more than half of these cases, we never do find the source of listeria," he said. "That looks like it's going to be the case here. We still haven't found it in a month."