Eight Months after Listeria Outbreak, Wholesome Soy Products Closes Permanently
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April 23, 2015

About eight months after a routine inspection found bacteria contamination, a Chicago-based company will no longer be allowed to process, distribute or sell bean sprouts.

A federal district court permanently barred Wholesome Soy Products and its owners from receiving, processing, manufacturing, preparing, packing, holding and distributing ready-to-eat mung bean and soybean sprouts.

The company sold its products to wholesale distributors and retail stores in Illinois.

Problems for Wholesome Soy Products began in August 2014 when a routine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection collected environmental and product samples that tested positive for listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that can be fatal in children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.

The company recalled their products and stopped production while they reportedly cleaned and sanitized their facility. They also hired an independent consultant that reportedly came back with negative test samples.

Shortly after resuming operations in September, the company was notified of five cases of listeria illnesses related to bean sprouts handled by the company. All five had been hospitalized and two died.

In October, the FDA did a follow-up inspection and found that nine samples tested positive for listeria.

The company voluntarily shut down operations in November and the company's remaining inventory was destroyed.

The CDC closed its investigation in January 2015 and no further cases of illness in connection to the company have been reported.

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