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.

Raw ground turkey behind Salmonella outbreak—CDC

A twelve-state outbreak of Salmonella infections has been linked to raw ground turkey meat, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigation report released today (April 12, 2021).

Scope of the outbreak

At least twenty-eight (28) cases of Salmonella Hadar with symptom onset dates between December 28, 2020, to March 4, 2021 were reported in the following states:

  • Arizona (1)
  • Connecticut (1)
  • Indiana (1)
  • Maine (1)
  • Massachusetts (7)
  • Missouri (1)
  • New Hampshire (1)
  • New Jersey (2)
  • New York (4)
  • North Carolina (3)
  • Pennsylvania (4)
  • Virginia (2)

Although two of the outbreak victims were hospitalized, there have been no deaths.

Epidemiological, laboratory and traceback data have linked the cases to raw, ground turkey products that were produced on December 18, 2020 through December 29, 2020.

Public Health Alert

The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a Public Health Alert for approximately 211,406 pounds of raw ground turkey products, produced by Plainville Brands, LLC (Pennsylvania) after the outbreak strain was recovered from an intact package of Plainville Brands’ ground turkey.

The alert encompasses the following items, all of which bear the establishment number EST. P-244 inside the USDA mark of inspection:

  • 1-lb. packages of Nature’s Promise Free from 94% LEAN | 6% FAT Ground Turkey with Use by/freeze/sell by date of 1/1/21, 1/3/21,1/4/21, 1/8/21 and 1/10/21 on the front of the package.
  • 1-lb. packages of Wegman 94% LEAN | 6% FAT Ground Turkey with Use by/freeze/sell by date of 1/3/21, 1/4/21, 1/8/21 and 1/10/21 on the front of the package.
  • 3-lb. packages of Wegman 94% LEAN | 6% FAT Ground Turkey with Use by/freeze/sell by date of 1/3/21, 1/4/21, 1/8/21 and 1/10/21 on the front of the package.
  • 1-lb. packages of Plainville Farms Ground White Turkey 93% | 7% Fat with Use by/freeze/sell by date of 1/10/21 on the front of the package.

All of the suspect packages have passed their Use by/freeze/sell by dates, and are believed to no longer be available for purchase. However, consumers may still have some of the implicated packages in their home freezers.

Not all of the outbreak cases have shown a direct link to raw ground turkey products from Plainville Brands. FSIS warns consumers that other raw ground turkey products may also be a source of some illnesses. It is possible that more recalls and/or public health alerts may follow.

What consumers need to know

  • Most people infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, beginning six hours to six days after being exposed. Most infected individuals recover without treatment in a week or less; however some people may experience more severe illnesses and may require medical treatment or hospitalization.
  • Consumers should check their freezers and discard any of the products listed in the FSIS Public Health Alert, and disinfect any surfaces with which these products may have come into contact.
  • Food handlers, whether in the home or in a commercial establishment, should take extreme care when preparing and cooking any raw ground poultry meat, including raw ground turkey, as these products carry a high risk of being contaminated with Salmonella.

Plainville’s response

Plainville issued the following statement in response to the FSIS Public Health Alert:

As a proud provider of natural and certified organic foods, the

health and safety of our customers is essential to who we are as a

company. We are providing any assistance requested by health and

safety officials. We are proud of our health and safety record and

protocols, and are honored that generations of families have trusted

Plainville and welcomed us into their homes.”

Tom Donovan, Vice President of Plainville Brands, LLC

Meow Mix® dry cat food recalled due to Salmonella

The J.M. Smucker Co. (Smucker) has recalled two lots of Meow Mix® dry cat food due to potential Salmonella contamination.

The recall is being carried out under cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The affected products are:

  • Meow Mix® Original Choice Dry Cat Food, 30-lb bag:- Lot code 1081804; Best if used by 9/14/2022; UPC 2927452099
  • Meow Mix® Original Choice Dry Cat Food, 30-lb bag:- Lot code 1082804; Best if used by 9/15/2022; UPC 2927452099

The two lots of recalled products were sold at select Walmart stores in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The company has received no reports of pet illness or adverse reaction.

According to the FDA, cats can be infected with Salmonella and shed the bacteria in their stools even if they are not showing symptoms. Salmonella can be spread within the household through litter boxes shared with other cats or by the cat roaming across various surfaces in the house, including food-preparation surfaces.

Infected cats may show symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite and decreased activity level.

What consumers should do

  • If your cat is experiencing any symptoms of Salmonella infection, consult your veterinarian.
  • If you or any member of your household is experiencing symptoms of Salmonella, consult your primary care physician.
  • If you have purchased Meow Mix® Original Choice Dry Cat Food, check the packaging to determine whether the lot code has been recalled.
  • If you believe Meow Mix® or any other pet food has made your pet sick, you can report a complaint electronically through the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal or you can call your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators. Be sure to provide the product name, lot code and place of purchase when you make your report so that the FDA can follow up effectively on your complaint.