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According to a story on Mother Nature Network, the SanGar plant in San Antonio, Texas was closed after health officials linked six of 10 known cases of listeriosis to chopped celery produced at the plant. Five deaths have been reported thus far. So what's listeriosis anyway, and how did get into chopped celery?Texas health officials have closed the SanGar plant in San Antonio as they try and determine where the contaminated chopped celery originated and where it has been distributed. A recall has also been issued. SanGar customers do include schools, hospitals, and restaurants. Health department spokeswoman Carrie Williams said:
Health officials on Thursday were trying to determine how much potentially tainted produce passed through the plant since January and whether it could have ended up in other products. Some of the celery was grown in California, but there appeared to be no problem with it until it reached the SanGar plant.
The 10 cases thus far were in Bexar, Travis, and Hidalgo counties, in the central and southern parts of the state. Sanitation problems have been discovered in the factory. One instance points to leaking condensation that dripped onto the food production area. When the company refused to close voluntarily, the Texas Health Department forced them to close.
The company's president Kenneth Sanquist Jr. is currently questioning the validity of the state's results.
Listeriosis is an infection caused by eating food contaminated the bacteria. The disease affects those with weakened immune systems including the elderly, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. In the United States, an estimated 2,500 persons become seriously ill with listeriosis each year. Of these, 500 die. according to the CDC.