Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Listeria Recalls - Could This Be the Story of Jason?

Within the week, there were two recalls, both involving Listeria contamination of cooked meat products that were discovered through testing. So luckily, no illnesses were reported. One is an FDA recall involving chicken salad sandwiches sold at retail. The other is a USDA recall involving meat strips that were sold in bulk to be used as ingredients.  

The process for both products would have entail post -process handling, so both would be at risk for Listeria contamination. The difference is that the sandwiches would be shipped refrigerated, allowing some time for growth to occur, although there is a limited shelf-life on the product. The other is a frozen product, so during the time that product is frozen, Listeria would not grow. The risk associated with this product would be impacted on how the further manufacturer used that product. Of course, if they further cook the product, perhaps as part of a BBQ meat product, it would eliminate the Listeria risk. However, if they made it into chicken salad and shipped it in a refrigerated state to retail stores, it would be similar to the FDA recalled product.

Once an operation has found they have a Listeria contamination issue, it is important that those companies do extensive cleaning and sanitizing that is verified by heavy monitoring. Too often, companies jump back into production without eliminating the true source of contamination. In some cases, they don’t find it in testing completed on non-production swabs and think they are good to go. However, once product starts to roll through the process, Listeria reemerges. The source of Listeria was hidden well within the bowls of the equipment, and only once product is flowing through for hours or even days, does the Listeria make its way back out onto the food contact surfaces and ultimately the product.  

Listeria is sort of like Jason, the scary dude in the hockey mask featured in in those horror movies. In this movie, after the screaming girl shoots him a zillion times and he falls off the two-story roof, the distraught girl, laying there for what seems to be an eternity, finally gets the nerve to look. However, looking down, she realizes Jason is not there on the ground. Slowly turning around, she screeches as she sees that Jason was standing right behind her with a machete in his hand. As you are watching the flick, you wonder, why did she not verify that he was dead sooner.  So yeah, Jason is like Listeria, you are just never able to kill it and he continues to scare the heck out of you. So don’t be the screaming girl, use a rocket-launcher instead of a handgun and check well and often that he is not standing behind you. And never assume he is really dead.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 21, 2013 - Knott's Fine Foods, Inc. of Paris, TN, is voluntarily recalling its 3 ounce Chicken Salad Sandwiches with an expiration date of 1/29/13 and earlier because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The recalled Chicken Salad Sandwiches were distributed in West Tennessee, Western Kentucky and North Mississippi in 35 retail stores.

The product comes in a 3 ounce black wedge with clear plastic film closure. UPC code is 0-11984-01132-6. All expiration dates 1/29/13 and earlier are being recalled. The expiration date is located on an orange sticker on the clear film of the package.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in 1 – 3 oz. Chicken Salad Sandwich.
No other Knott's Foods products were found to be affected.

The production of the product has been postponed while the FDA and the company continue to investigate the source of the problem.

Consumers who have purchased any of the above mentioned Knott's Chicken Salad Sandwiches are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-731-642-1961 Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm CST.

Idaho Firm Recalls Fully Cooked Meat and Poultry Products Due to Potential Listeria Monocytogenes Contamination

WASHINGTON, January 19, 2013 - LJD Holdings, Inc., doing business as B and D Foods, a Boise, Idaho establishment, is recalling approximately 33,500 pounds of fully cooked meat and poultry products due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The following product is subject to recall:
 10-lb. boxes, containing 2, 5-lb bags of “ROYAL “THE TEMPURA KING” ROYAL TEMPURA CHICKEN, Fully Cooked Tempura Chicken Breast,” bearing an identifying code of “A-4615.” This product was distributed to foodservice and/or institutional customers in California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
10-lb. boxes, containing 2, 5-lb bags of “BLINGS! CHICKEN BREAST WITH PARMESAN FLAVORING,” bearing an identifying code of “A-4844.” This product was distributed to foodservice and/or institutional customers in Idaho and Montana.
10-lb. boxes, containing 2, 5-lb bags of “STEAKHOUSE TEMPURA SEASONED BEEF & BINDER STRIPS,” bearing an identifying code of “A-1070-10.” This product was distributed to foodservice and/or institutional customers in Idaho and Montana.
30-lb. boxes of “KETTLE COOKED CHICKEN BREAST PIECES,” bearing an identifying code of “A-3900.” This product was distributed to an industrial customer in Ohio.
30-lb. boxes of “FULLY COOKED PORK STRIPS,” bearing an identifying code of “A-3025-30.” This product was distributed to an industrial customer in Arizona and California.

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 6266” or “Est. P-6266” inside the USDA mark of inspection, as well as an identifying case code of “110622.” The products were produced on Dec. 6, 2012, and distributed to foodservice and institutional customers, as well as an industrial customer in the distribution areas noted above.

The problem was discovered by the company through microbiological testing and the products are being recalled due to concerns of cross-contamination. FSIS and the company have not received reports of illnesses due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

Consumers with questions regarding the recall should contact the company’s Chief Administrative Office, Gary Shaw at (208) 344-1183 ext. 106. Media with questions about the recall should contact the company’s President, Tim Andersen at (208) 344-1183 ext. 101.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. "Ask Karen" live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/

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