U.S. – The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced the recall of nearly 8.5 million pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken products, produced by Tyson Foods Inc., the U.S. leading producer of poultry, due to possible Listeria contamination.

According to FSIS, it had earlier received a notification of listeriosis infection in two people and an investigation identified three listeriosis illnesses, including one death.

A collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health agencies to determine the cause, linked the illnesses to Tyson pre-cooked chicken products.

 The agency stated that the frozen, fully cooked chicken products were produced between December 26, 2020 and April 13, 2021.

These items were shipped nationwide to retailers and institutions, including hospitals, nursing facilities, restaurants, schools and Department of Defense locations.

They were sold in bag sizes from 12-ounce bags of fully-cooked oven roasted diced chicken breast to 30-pound bags of fully cooked chicken fajita strips.

 Products were also sold under brands such as Jet’s Pizza, Casey’s General Store, Marco’s Pizza and Little Caesars.

“We’re committed to providing safe, healthy food that people rely on every day. We are taking this precautionary step out of an abundance of caution and in keeping with our commitment to safety,” said Scott Brooks, senior vice president, food safety and quality assurance, Tyson Foods.

This is a Class 1 recall, implying there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

Listeriosis symptoms

The CDC has revealed that consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns.

Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.

Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract.

 In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn.

The agency has recommended that persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food, should seek medical care and inform the health care provider of eating the contaminated food.

It has further advised consumers and businesses or institutions that may be in possession of these products to throw them away or return them to the store where they were purchased.