Frozen foods are often tossed into the freezer to eat another day, some packages even forgotten and left behind to develop freezer burn. But buyers beware. A Washington State food-packaging company may have shipped listeria-filled products, which may be sitting in unknowing consumers' refrigerators today. The manufacturer CRF Frozen Foods has voluntarily recalled nearly 360 non-organic frozen fruits and vegetables sold under 42 different brand names for fear of contamination.

“The long shelf life of the recalled frozen produce is of particular concern because consumers could have purchased the products long ago and not realize they have them in their homes,” wrote Bill Marler, a local personal-injury and products-liability lawyer, in a statement.

At first, the packaging company recalled 11 frozen food products on April 23. But after eight people told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that they'd become sick with listeria from eating Organic by Nature frozen vegetables (a product of CRF Frozen Foods), the company decided to expand its recall to include all foods processed at the facility since May 1, 2014. The company also suspended operations while under review by the CDC. Two of those who reported falling ill have since died.

Eventually, the CDC traced the outbreak to Organic by Nature, and found the packages had already reached multiple states where they were beind sold in several major grocery stores including Costco, Walmart, Safeway, and Trader Joe’s. The company reported all potentially affected products have "best-by" dates or "sell-by" dates between April 26, 2016 and April 26, 2018.

CRF Frozen Foods issued a statement to alert consumers not to eat any of the hundreds of potentially contaminated products. “Consumers who purchased these products may return them to the store where they were purchased for a refund, or simply discard them,” it said. “ We apologize for any concern or inconvenience this expanded recall has caused our customers and consumers who enjoy our products.”

According to the CDC, Listeria monocytogenes are a bacterium commonly found in soil and water. It’s most commonly contracted by eating contaminated food, and infects roughly 1,600 people each year, causing 260 deaths. It can thrive for years within a food processing factory, contaminating the foods that are produced there along the way.

Most healthy immune systems can fight off the infection, but those who have weakened immune systems, such as older adults, pregnant women, and newborns, are especially at risk. The outbreak becomes life-threatening when the bacteria reach the bloodstream, killing one in five of its victims.

While you search the depths of your freezer for the sell-by dates of potentially dangerous foods, watch out for the symptoms of listeria. Sufferers usually experience muscle aches, fatigue, headache, stiffness, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions, fever, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems. Symptoms usually appear within the first few days of eating the contaminated foods, however, people can develop listeriosis for up to two months afterward.