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The Top Food Recalls of 2011

December 2011: Cilantro

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Food-Borne Illness: Salmonella

Foods recalled: California produce distributor Pacific International Marketing recalled more than 6,000 cartons of cilantro due to a possible salmonella contamination. While the source of the contamination is unknown, the cilantro was distributed to places in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Indiana, South Carolina, and Missouri.

Outcome: No illnesses have been reported so far.

October 2011: Pine Nuts

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Food-borne illness: Salmonella

Foods recalled: Wegmans Food Markets Inc. recalled any Turkish pine nuts that were sold in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland between the dates of July 1 and October 18, according to Reuters.

Outcome: 42 people in six states were sickened, but no deaths have been reported so far. New York has experience the greatest number of cases so far, with 26 people falling ill after consuming the affected nuts.

October 2011: Romaine and Iceberg Lettuce

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Food-borne illness: Listeria

Foods recalled: True Leaf Farms of Salinas in California issued a voluntary romaine lettuce recall of nearly 2,500 cartons, about 90 cartons of which were sold in retail stores and the rest were sold to institutions such as restaurants and cafeterias. Also, Pittsburgh's Giant Eagle Inc. recalled its eight-ounce packages of shredded iceberg lettuce, which was produced by River Ranch Fresh Foods.

Outcome: No illnesses were reported.

September 2011: Cantaloupe

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Food-borne illness: Listeria

Foods recalled: Cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo.

Outcome: The deadliest listeria outbreak in more than 25 years, 23 died from listeriosis and another 116 people from the states Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming were sickened.

September 2011: Ground Beef

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Food-borne illness: E. coli

Foods recalled: Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. recalled about 131,300 pounds of ground beef. Recalled beef products included Kroger (in Tennessee and Indiana) and Butcher's Brand (in North and South Carolina and the generic beef in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin).

Outcome: One family in Ohio was sickened from tainted ground beef that had tested positive for E. coli.

August 2011: Ground Turkey Meat

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Food-borne illness: Salmonella

Foods recalled: Although no direct company link was reported to be found, tainted ground turkey affected people in Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Outcome: One death and 76 illnesses were reported nationwide due to this food recall. This particular recall was disturbing because the particular strain of Salmonella found is known to be drug-resistant.

May 2011: Grape Tomatoes

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Food-borne illness: Salmonella

Foods recalled: A number of grape tomatoes were recalled, including Taylor Farms Pacific for Albertsons, Raley's, Safeway, Savemart, Sam's Club, and Walmart in Arizona, Oregon, California, Nevada, Washington, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah.

Outcome: Thankfully, no one was sickened from this one!

May 2011: Organic Sprouts

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Food-borne illness: E. coli

Foods recalled: While no specific foods were recalled, those traveling to Germany were told to avoid eating raw lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, and cucumbers.

Outcome: In Europe, more than 2,200 people were sickened and 22 were killed. Four Americans who were traveling in Europe were also sickened.

March 2011: Lean Cuisine Meals

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Food-borne illness: None—but there were red plastic pieces found in the meals.

Foods recalled: Approximately 10,260 pounds of Lean Cuisine Simple Favorites Spaghetti with Meatball entrees that were packaged in October 2010 and were shipped to stores east of the Rocky Mountains.

Outcome: There were no reports of serious illness.