USDA posts public health alert for 65 tons of frozen chicken sent to food banks

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a public health alert for 130,860 pounds of frozen, diced chicken products because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The products were distributed by Big Daddy Foods Inc., a Houston firm. They were also distributed to consumers at local food banks in Florida through the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program in individual food boxes. 

The problem was discovered during routine FSIS inspection activities when inspection personnel observed products, indicated to be fully cooked, requiring recooking because of possible Listeria contamination had been repackaged without being recooked. A subsequent FSIS investigation determined other affected products had been further distributed in commerce.

The frozen, diced chicken items were packed on Jan. 25, Jan. 26, March 23, and March 24, and were distributed Feb. 25 through March 1, and March 29 through April 8 at temporary locations.

The public alert did not include any information about specific brand names.

There is concern that consumers may still have unused portions in their home freezers because of the product’s long shelf life.

The following products are subject to the public health alert:

  • 4-lb. plastic bags containing “FULLY COOKED CHICKEN MEAT ¾ DICED WHITE” with code 13530, Est. number P-18237, and pack dates of “01/25/2021” and “01/26/2021.”
  • 4-lb. plastic bags containing “FULLY COOKED CHICKEN MEAT DARK/WHITE ¾ DICED” with code 16598, Est. number P-45638, and pack dates “24/MAR/2021” and “23/MAR/2021.”

The products bear establishment numbers “P-18237” or “P-45638” inside the USDA mark of inspection. 

As of the posting of the public alert, there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

FSIS advises all consumers to reheat ready-to-eat products until steaming hot.

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any products above and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the products above should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

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