CRF Foods plans to reopen plant after lengthy sanitation process - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

CRF Foods plans to reopen plant after lengthy sanitation process

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PASCO, WA. -- After one of the largest recalls in recent history, CRF Foods is planning to reopen its Pasco plant. 

Right now a team is inside the CRF Frozen Foods distributing plant in Pasco, going through what a spokesperson describes as a "long and meticulous" process of cleaning and testing every piece of equipment. They're trying to find the source of a listeria outbreak but a spokesperson says they might never find that source before reopening the plant.

The CRF Frozen Foods plant closed in late April after state health officials in Ohio found evidence of listeria on CRF products. Seven people in three states have gotten sick from the bacteria, including 2 deaths. But listeria wasn't the cause of death according to the FDA.

"It's actually quite common to never find the ultimate source of contamination in a plant and the reason for that is the contamination may have been eliminated because of subsequent cleaning process," Gene Grabowski, a spokesperson for CRF Foods said. "It might have occurred somehow outside the plant when the product was shipped."

Since May, CRF Foods has been closed and 250 employees were laid off while the plant is sanitized. Before the frozen foods plant can reopen, new equipment has to be ordered and installed. Then the FDA inspectors have to come through and conduct their own tests on the plant. The whole process can take a lot of time but CRF foods does plan to reopen when it's all over. 

"The focus is entirely on getting the plant back up to standard," Grabowski said. "So there's no telling what the timetable might be so there's no way to tell when or if or how many employees might be coming back."

The current recall involves a variety of frozen veggies, including broccoli, green beans, baby peas, yellow corn and edamame, to name just a few. 

To find a complete list of recalled fruits and vegetable associated with CRF Foods, which numbers into the hundreds, click here