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This week federal agencies filed a complaint against Native American Enterprises, a food supplier for schools and the military, after its products tested positive for Listeria contamination. The complaint comes after several warnings and is led by the Consumer Protect Branch of the US Department of Justice, according to Food Safety News.
Native American Enterprises (NAE) makes refried beans and sauces and ready-to-eat taco meat products. The company is based in Wichita Kansas and owned by William and Scott McGreevy who are both reportedly members of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe reportedly. It supplies food to Kansas public schools and the US military, as well as restaurants.
According to the government agencies who filed the complaint in US District Court in Kansas, the company in question has ignored warnings and notices from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for years. In April of last year, FDA inspections of NAE facilities showed that conditions and practices by employees were not sanitary.
Listeria Monocytogenes were also found in the company's facilities. The FDA said that it collected 100 environmental samples at NAE months later, in August. Of these, 39 were positive for Listeria Monocytogenes and five were positive for other Listeria pathogens.
In previous years the agency noted that the company had failed to properly maintain and clean equipment in its facilities. "Insanitary conditions at food processing facilities can present significant risks to consumers and food manufacturers must take steps to minimize those risks," said Benjamin C. Mizer, the principal deputy attorney general who heads DOJ's civil division.
All food poisoning manifests in a similar fashion. Listeriosis, like other forms of food poisoning, manifests in stomach aches, cramps, diarrhea, fever, muscle pains, stiff neck, confusion, and loss of balance. It tends to affect people with vulnerable immune systems, like pregnant women, newborns, and the ill.
People contract Listeriosis from eating Listeria-contaminated foods. Listeria lives in the soil and can cling to fruit and vegetables. It can also be found in ready to eat meats, such as deli lunch meats and hot dogs, and the ready-to-eat meat used in NAE's products apparently.
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