Cut-up pieces of raw butternut squash

Two food processing companies, Pero Family Farms and Lancaster Foods issued voluntary recalls on a wide range of butternut squash products because they could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday.

There are no reports of illnesses.

Dozens of products are part of the recall and include items such as packaged cubed butternut squash, butternut squash spirals, butternut squash lasagna noodles, and a vegetable “rice” blend containing butternut squash.

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Recalled items from Pero Family Farms Food were shipped to stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. The packages list “use by” dates that range from Jan. 13 through Jan. 22. (See a full list of products and their package codes.)  

Butternut squash products recalled from Lancaster Foods were distributed to stores in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington D.C. These packages are marked with “use by” dates from Jan. 2 through Jan. 20. (See a full list of products and their package codes.)

The FDA did not provide a list of retailers that carry products from either company. 

Both companies received whole butternut squash from a Pennsylvania produce supplier, Race-West in Clark Summit, Harris Cutler, CEO of Race-West, told Consumer Reports. Each company then processed the squash into its own products.  

Race-West was notified by Lancaster Foods that the squash could be contaminated, Cutler says, then Race-West let Pero Family Farms know of the potential problem. According to Cutler, the butternut squash was grown by Brightly Farms in Hamlin, N.Y. Brightly Farms, Lancaster, and Pero did not immediately respond to CR’s request for comment.

“Brightly Farms has cooperated with us during this event, and the situation is still being investigated,” Cutler says.

Companies involved in the butternut squash recall
Two examples of recalled butternut squash products.

The Risks of Listeria

Listeria monocytogenes is a type of bacteria that can cause fever, diarrhea, and muscle aches, and, if it spreads to the nervous system, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Listeria can cause fatal infections in young children, older people, or people with weakened immune systems. In pregnant women, listeria can lead to miscarriages or life-threatening infections in newborns.

Cooking to 165° F can kill listeria, but you shouldn’t take the chance with a product that is suspected or known to be contaminated with the bacteria. And if you have had any of these butternut squash products in your refrigerator, give the fridge a thorough cleaning.

“Listeria can survive for a long time on surfaces, and unlike most other bacteria, it can continue to grow at refrigerated temperatures,” says Sana Mujahid, PhD, manager of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. “If there is lingering listeria in your fridge, other foods could get contaminated.”

The Details

Product recalled: Multiple processed butternut squash products from Pero Family Farms (see list here) and Lancaster Foods (see list here).

The problem: The butternut squash may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The fix: Return the butternut squash to the store where it was purchased for a full refund or toss it into the trash.

How to contact the company: Consumers with questions can call Lancaster Foods at 410-799-0010, ext. 1530, or Pero Family Farms Food at 561-498-5771, ext. 2107. Both companies can be reached from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.