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Recall of Ready-to-Eat Chicken for Listeria Contamination


Washington, DC--Approximately 4,140 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken breasts have been recalled by House of Raeford Farms of North Carolina for possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The announcement was made by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The ready-to-eat chicken was shipped to four states

The recalled chicken products were shipped to food service institutions and delicatessens in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina and include 18- to 22-pound boxes of boneless oven roasted chicken breast. The product can be identified by the establishment number P-239A, a product code of 94268, and a package date of 1270 (September 27, 2011).

Thus far, the FSIS has not received any reports of illness associated with the recalled chicken product. The bacteria were discovered by a customer when it tested a sample in its laboratory.

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Anyone who has questions about the recall can contact the manager of the House of Raeford Farms, Dave Witter, at 910-289-6895.

Similar recalls of ready-to-eat chicken for possible listeria contamination occurred a few months ago, in July 2011, when Pilgrim’s Pride recalled 18,312 pounds of chicken fillets and chicken nuggets that were sold at Dollar General stores in nine states. In a separate recall, also for listeria, about 7,000 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken, turkey, pork, and beef products sold in three states were recalled by Flying Foods.

Listeria bacteria can cause serious and sometimes fatal illness (listeriosis), especially in susceptible individuals, including pregnant women, elderly adults, infants, and individuals with a weakened immune system. Healthy individuals, however, rarely develop the condition, which is characterized by high fever, a stiff neck, nausea, muscle aches, loss of balance, and severe headache. Listeriosis can also cause stillbirths and miscarriages in pregnant women. Approximately 1,600 cases of listeriosis occur in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and about 260 people die.

Listeria monocytogenes are found in water and soil, and the bacteria can survive on surfaces for years. Although cooking can kill the bacteria, food processing plants can spread the bacteria to cooked foods, such as ready-to-eat chicken. Listeria can also grow and reproduce in a refrigerator.

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service