Food products contaminated with Listeria can result in serious consumer illness and sometimes fatal infections among the young and senior population, says Alabama liability attorney Keith T. Belt
Listeria contamination of hard-cooked eggs has led to recalls of prepared salads, sandwiches, and other products in 34 states. The listeria contamination was detected in lab tests run on hard-cooked eggs from Michael Foods’ Wakefield, Neb., plant. The firm says the contamination was linked to a “specific repair project that took place in the processing room.”
Michael Foods, based in Minnesota, does not sell the foods directly to retail customers. But the recalled 10- and 25-pound pails of cooked, peeled eggs were widely distributed to many types of food service companies in 34 states.
An initial lot of the eggs was recalled on Jan. 26. The recall expanded to eggs sold under six brand names — Columbia Valley Farms, GFS, Glenview Farms, Papetti’s, Silverbrook, and Wholesome Farms — bearing lot codes of 1 LOT 1350W through 1 LOT 2025W and expiration dates ranging from 1/30/2012 to 3/10/2012.
The eggs were sold to food distributors and manufacturers in 34 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. It’s not yet clear whether any of these distributors sold the products beyond these states.
A few food service establishments and distributors have made specific recalls.
In Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee, Greencore USA has recalled:
- 7.66 oz. Take Away Café Egg Salad Sandwiches with the sell-by date of 1/25/12 through 2/7/12. Barcode UPC : 745466128195
- 5.68 oz. Quick Café Egg Salad Wedge with an enjoy-by-date of 1/22/12 through 2/4/12. Barcode UPC: 073508830042
If you have eaten foods suspected of listeria contamination, be aware of the symptoms of listeria illness, known as listeriosis. Listeriosis symptoms can appear anywhere from three days to two months after eating contaminated food. They include fever and muscle aches, and may also include stiff neck, headache, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Despite the current outbreaks, listeriosis remains an uncommon illness and is very serious resulting in fatalities in about 20% of cases.
Listeria rarely causes serious disease in healthy people, but some people are at greatly increased risk including:
- Older adults
- Pregnant women
- Transplant recipients or others taking immunity-suppressing medicines
- People with diabetes, HIV, or other diseases that weaken immunity