Wisconsin Listeria Concerns Prompt 19,000 Pound Meat Recall

Testing by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found evidence of Listeria bacteria in ready-to-eat chicken and ham salads, prompting recalls of the products nationwide. Garden Fresh Foods of Milwaukee, Wisconsin recalled 19,000 pounds of the products due to the possible contamination.

Listeria Bacteria

Listeriosis, which is the illness caused by eating food containing Listeria monocytogenes, is most dangerous for the elderly, pregnant women, and newborns. Adults with suppressed or weakened immune systems are also at risk of serious health problems should they ingest the bacteria.

Symptoms of the illness include fever, muscle aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stiff neck. Some patients suffer from confusion and seizures as well. Although most cases of listeriosis resolve on their own, some who ingest the bacteria suffer from septicemia, meningitis, encephalitis and endocarditis. In early pregnancy, listeria infections may cause miscarriage, while later term pregnancies may end in stillbirth, premature birth or an infection in the baby after birth that could be fatal.

Latest Recall

In the latest recall, there has been no reports of illness because of consumption of the recalled products. Distributed nationwide, the chicken and ham salads are sold under Market Pantry, Archer Farms, D’Amico and Sons, Finest Tradition, Garden Fresh and Weis brands. The recall includes not only the chicken and ham salads, but several lines of dips and spreads, as well as salads containing pasta. A list of the items, UPC, package size, product codes and product dates can be found at the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) site.

Causes of Listeria

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria found in soil, water and animal feces, and causes listeriosis in humans. The bacterium is often found on raw vegetables, infected meat, unpasteurized dairy products and certain processed foods. The FDA provides regulations for grocery stores, restaurants, delicatessens and households to help prevent listeria from contaminating food.