Whately farm recalls mung bean sprouts over contamination concerns

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 05-10-2023 5:33 PM

WHATELY — Chang Farm on River Road has voluntarily recalled mung bean sprouts due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The farm recently recalled all 10-pound bulk bags, as well as 12-ounce retail bags with a May 7 sell-by date, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Affected products are sold under the Chang Farm and Nature’s Wonder brands.

Based on preliminary laboratory results, the state DPH suspects mung bean sprouts with a sell-by date beyond May 7 might also be contaminated and advises people not to consume any from Chang Farm until further notice. Chang Farm is cooperating with state authorities, and agreed to suspend operations and distribution of the product pending further investigation, according to state health officials.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. Though healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms like high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infections can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in those who are pregnant. The products in question were distributed to retail stores and wholesalers across Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, according to the DPH.

Farm owner Sidney Chang said in an interview Wednesday that the bean sprouts were harvested on April 23 and distributed to an Asian food supermarket in Brooklyn the following day. He said the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Division of Food Safety and Inspection conducted a sample analysis and detected Listeria monocytogenes. Chang said he was notified on May 4 and the farm agreed to not sell to anyone until the bean sprouts are determined to be safe.

“We’re waiting for lab results to come back,” Chang explained.

Chang noted it typically requires high levels of Listeria to make someone sick. He also said Listeria recalls generally require a higher threshold in Europe.

Chang Farm was started in 1976 and now grows only bean sprouts, which it has cultivated since 1983. Chang said his operation consists of an approximately 44,000-square-foot indoor facility where bean sprouts are cultivated and harvested. The farm sells to Big Y World Class Market, through the supermarket chain’s distribution center.

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“We sell to a lot of people,” Chang said.

Consumers should contact their health care provider with any illness concerns, according to the DPH. Anyone with questions can contact Chang Farm at 413-522-0234 or 413-222-5519 at any time.

The DPH has also issued suggestions on what to do if mung bean sprouts from Chang Farm were or are in your home. You should dispose of the products in a closed plastic bag that should be placed inside a sealed trash can to prevent animals from eating them. Then wash the inside walls and shelves of your refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops. These items should also be sanitized with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water and then dried with a clean cloth or clean paper towel.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.

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