OUTBREAK ALERT AND PRODUCT RECALL: Listeria monocytogenes in pre-cooked chicken

One person is dead and two more have been hospitalized in a multi-state outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes according to a report released last night and updated today by the US Centers for Disease Contol and Prevention (CDC).

All three outbreak victims were either living in a long-term care facility or were already hospitalized at the time they became infected.

Two of the cases, including the single fatality, are in Texas. The remaining case is in Delaware.

Victims range in age from 60 to 95, with a median age of 89 years old. Two of the three are male.

The CDC warns that the true number of infected people may be higher, and the outbreak may not be limited to Texas and Delaware.

The outbreak strain was recovered from two samples of precooked chicken products during routine sampling conducted by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

One of the positive samples was produced by Tyson Foods Inc. in Dexter, MO. The producer of the second sample to test positive for the outbreak strain has not yet been named.

Tyson recalls 4,246 TONS of pre-cooked chicken products

Tyson has recalled approximately 8,492,832 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken products produced between December 26, 2020 and April 13, 2021 and bearing the establishment number, EST. P-7089.

The recalled products include frozen, fully cooked chicken strips, diced chicken, chicken wing sections, and fully cooked pizza with chicken and were sold under multiple brand names, including: Tyson, Jet’s Pizza, Casey’s General Store, Marco’s Pizza, and Little Caesars.

These items were shipped nationwide to retailers and institutions, including hospitals, nursing facilities, restaurants, schools and Department of Defense locations. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Consumers and food handlers should take additional care when preparing dishes that included pre-cooked chicken, especially when the food will be offered to the elderly or to immunocompromised individuals, including pregnant women.

What businesses need to know

  • Do not serve or sell recalled products.
  • Long-term care facilities, hospitals, and other facilities that serve people at higher risk for severe Listeria illness should take extra precautions. Listeria is particularly harmful to people who are 65 years or older, pregnant, or have a weakened immune system.
  • All of the sick people in this outbreak ate foods served at a long-term care facility or hospital.
  • Follow USDA-FSIS guidelines to prevent the spread and growth of Listeria.

What consumers need to know

  • Do not eat any recalled products. Throw them away or return them to where you bought them.
  • Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator, containers, and surfaces that may have touched the recalled products. Listeria can survive in the refrigerator and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.
  • Call your healthcare provider right away if you have these symptoms after eating recalled products.
    • If you are pregnant: Fever and muscle aches. Your illness may be mild, but Listeria can cause pregnancy loss or premature birth. It can also cause serious illness or death in newborns.
    • If you are not pregnant: Headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.

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