Patrick Trautfield

San Francisco-based beverage chain Jamba Juice said Tuesday that several of its chain stores located along the West Coast might have used contaminated strawberries in late November.

According to Jamba Juice, a business that originated in San Luis Obispo, one of its suppliers, Cleugh’s Frozen Foods, notified the company last week that routine testing in a Salinas food processing center found that its frozen strawberries tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, a potentially harmful bacteria.

Cleugh’s, a subsidiary of Canadian organic food company SunOpta Inc., said in a statement late Monday that it had voluntarily recalled the strawberries. The strawberries in question were shipped to several Jamba Juice stores in Southern California, Arizona and southern Nevada.

As soon as information about the contaminated strawberries was relayed to Jamba Juice, the stores removed all strawberries delivered from Cleugh’s and disinfected all of their equipment, according to a press release.

San Luis Obispo has two Jamba Juice store locations, and each said they are doing their part to ensure that customers aren’t purchasing beverages containing contaminated strawberries.

“We actually never received a shipment of the suspected contaminated strawberries from the supplier,” said Christyn Rossiter, Chorro Street Jamba Juice manager and kinesiology senior. “No Jamba Juice store from Camarillo to Paso Robles received the shipment and the supplier took back all the strawberries before they were delivered.”

Of the 32 menu items currently available at Jamba Juice locations in San Luis Obispo, 20 contain strawberries. Though Jamba Juice warns that smoothies containing strawberries consumed from Nov. 25 to Dec. 1 may have been contaminated, the San Luis Obispo locations said they haven’t heard of any illnesses related to consuming the beverages.

“As far as we know there hasn’t been anyone who got sick from a smoothie containing strawberries,” said the manager of the Marsh Street Jamba Juice who preferred not to be named.

Concerning the contaminated strawberries and possibly related illnesses, Jamba Juice has produced a costumer information flier that details the extent of the contamination in addition to information about what the beverage company has done to rectify it.

The flier also contains information about the Listeria bacterium and its symptoms that can include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea.

If you have purchased a beverage containing strawberries from Jamba Juice and are experiencing any of these symptoms, Jamba Juice asks that you call 1-877-464-5689 or visit their Web site at www.jambajuice.com to arrange a blood test or reimbursement.

This information has come in the wake of several fruit and vegetable related illnesses including the recent finding of green onions served at Taco Bell contaminated with the deadly E. Coli bacteria.

As of Wednesday, green onions have been removed from all 5,800 Taco Bell restaurants and four New Jersey Taco Bell chains have been closed after a dozen people became ill after eating entrees containing green onions according to a press release.

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