USDA issues health alert for frozen, cooked diced poultry over Listeria concerns

WASHINGTON — A public health alert was issued Monday for frozen fully cooked, diced chicken products over concerns that the food could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

>> Read more trending news

According to a news release, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public health alert for approximately 130,860 pounds of poultry products.

Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, according to the FSIS. It is a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns.

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

According to the news release, the FSIS said the poultry items were packed on Jan. 25, 2021; Jan. 26, 2021; March 23, 2021; and March 24, 2021.

The following products are subject to the public health alert:

  • 4-pound plastic bags containing “Fully cooked chicken meat 3/4 diced white” with the code 13530, Est. number P-18237, and pack dates of “01/25/2021” and “01/26/2021.”
  • 4-pound plastic bags containing “Fully cooked chicken meat dark/white 3/4 diced” with the code 16598, Est. number P-45638, and pack dates “24/MAR/2021” and “23/MAR/2021.”

According to FSIS, the products have establishment numbers “P-18237” or “P-45638” inside the USDA mark of inspection and were distributed by Big Daddy Foods, Inc., a Houston firm. These items were further distributed to consumers at local food banks in Florida through the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program. The products were distributed between Feb. 25, 2021, and March 1, 2021; and between March 29, 2021, and April 8, 2021, at temporary locations.

The problem was discovered during a routine FSIS inspection, when officials observed products requiring recooking due to possible contamination had been repackaged without being recooked, according to the news release. A subsequent FSIS investigation determined other affected products had been further distributed in commerce. There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to the consumption of these products.

According to the FSIS, consumers who have bought these products are urged not to consume them.

FSIS officials said that consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).