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Another Reason to Sharpen Your Knife Skills: Pre-Sliced Onions Recalled for Listeria

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(Photo credit: Krista Simmons/LAist)
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Anthony Bourdain once warned that it's the sense of sheer stupidity that hurts more than actually slicing your finger when chopping up mise en place. Though we're sure that the nearly dismembered Missy from Top Chef Masters -- who nearly lobbed off her finger with a mandolin on last Wednesday's premiere -- might disagree, you'll be feeling really stupid if you catch listeria because you were too lazy to slice your own onions.

It might sound extreme, but that's what could happen if you're used to buying pre-prepped produce. A massive recall has been placed on Gill's Onions, who specializes in diced, diced, slivered and whole-peeled onions and celery mix.

As trained cooks, seeing those pre-packaged mirepoix tubs at TJ's always got us ticked off. Why bother paying so much extra just to have your veggies sliced up for you? Not to mention the added level of contamination that comes along with that. Each step that's added in processing means another risk for someone's dirty paws or equipment to tarnish it. (Same goes for pre-broken down chickens, but that's another post altogether.)

As it turns out, it's not just TJ's pre-diced onions that are in trouble. It's a heck of a lot more. Says Huffington Post :

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Gills Onions, which provides diced, slivered and whole-peeled onions and celery mix to several companies, has called a voluntarily recall on those products with a use-by date of August 3 or before, citing a possible listeria contamination. Several outlets are reporting affected products, which now include items sold in some Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Weis, Publix and Wegman's stores across Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Washington, plus Canadian provinces Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.

According to the CDC, as "a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes" and "important public health problem in the United States." The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems, with symptoms like ever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal irregularity. The most recent instance of recalls due to threat of listeria was back in July, when Bouna Vita was forced to recall 300,000 pounds of meatballs.

Here's a comprehensive list from the FDA to check your fridge against.

Our advice: Take a knife skills class at Sur la Table. It'll save you money, and maybe even your health.