Widespread food safety issues have been identified at a Pennsylvania manufacturing facility for Beyond Meat, a popular plant-based alternative to meat for vegan diets.

According to a report released this week by Bloomberg, the leaked information describes pervasive problems at the Pennsylvania plant Beyond Meat Inc., which is expected to play a major role in the company’s expanding market for vegan meat substitutes.

Documents indicate that the plant’s products tested positive for Listeria at least 11 times in 2021 and 2022. The information was leaked by a former Beyond Meat employee and was confirmed to Bloomberg News by two current employees, who asked to remain anonymous.

Beyond meat production problems

Photos and reports detail mold on the walls, containers and equipment for storing ingredients, as well as dirty facilities, unsafe equipment and strange factors, such as an overturned trolley inside a production funnel.

Other documents report foreign objects such as string, metal, wood and plastic found in food from the plant up to December 2021. Some products have reached the consumer level and reports of wood and metal have been received in various restaurants.

Because of the issue, a Beyond Meat recall was issued earlier this year for hamburger patties sold at Costcos in Canada.

Internal spreadsheets highlight the results of weekly contamination tests with 11 confirmed Listeria cases, most recently in May.

Inspections by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in March show no violations and a visit in September, not to inspect the facility, for unpaid registration. This is a $35 fee that has been pending for almost a year. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not inspected the facility since Beyond Meat bought it.

Beyond Meat responded to the Bloomberg report saying company protocols go beyond regulatory standards, but the company did not comment on internal documents shared with the outlet. Also, mold growth can take some time, which highlights a lack of cleanliness.

Listeria Risks of food poisoning

The organism Listeria monocytogenes can cause symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, rigors, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. In people with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly and young children, it can be fatal. Among pregnant women, Listeria monocytogenes infections can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

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