Deli Products Recalled After Listeria Outbreak
Since August, the FDA and several manufacturers have been recalling contaminated deli products, specifically pre-cooked chicken. The latest round of recalls affects products at stores like Trader Joe’s, Target and Kroger.
E.A. Sween Company and Tip Top Poultry, Inc. provided many of the proteins used in the stores’ ready-to-eat products, like chicken salad sandwiches and burritos. The company pulled their products from the market this October due to the possibility of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.
What is Listeria?
Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause a serious and sometimes fatal infection known as listeriosis. The infection is particularly dangerous for young children, elderly people, and otherwise frail individuals, including those with weakened immune systems. Additionally, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.
Symptoms of listeriosis consist of:
- High fever
- Severe headache
- Muscle aches
- Stiffness (especially in the neck)
- Loss of balance
- Abdominal pain
For healthy people, these symptoms typically clear-up within a few days, but they can be dangerous for those with pre-existing conditions. In their ongoing investigation of pre-cooked chicken products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services (USDA-FSIS) has so far found 24 cases of listeriosis in 13 states. Two people have died from the illness and 22 others have been hospitalized.
According to the Star Tribune, “Listeria is a particularly virulent foodborne pathogen; 1 out of 5 people infected with it will die.”
To help consumers avoid listeriosis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released some key points of advice, including:
- Handling deli-sliced products carefully
- Heating deli meats to an internal temperature of 165°F before consuming
- Avoiding deli products altogether if you are a pregnant woman, over 65 years old, or have a weakened immune system
- Cleaning and sanitizing slicers, refrigerators, kitchen counters, utensils, and all other surfaces that come into contact with deli-sliced products
Consumers should also avoid any recalled products.
The first lawsuit related to the Listeria outbreak was filed on October 7 against Tip Top Poultry. Attorneys suspect this lawsuit will be the “tip of the iceberg” and many more cases will arise.
If you have been hospitalized with listeriosis, you may also be eligible to file a claim against E.A. Sween, Tip Top poultry, or any other manufacturer which exposed you to Listeria.