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January 29, 1999

Thorn Apple Valley Frankfurters And Lunch Combination Products Recalled For Potential Listeria Contamination

Editor's Note: The 800 number provided by the Company has changed since this release was first posted.

WASHINGTON, DC (SafetyAlerts) - Thorn Apple Valley's Forrest City, Arkansas meat processing plant is voluntarily recalling all frankfurter and lunch combination products produced since July 6, 1998, because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.

All meat and poultry products bearing "EST 13529" or "EST P-13529," anywhere on the product package, are subject to the recall.

Based on information Thorn Apple Valley provided to FSIS along with FSIS records, products produced at the plant that are being recalled could include the lunch combinations (products containing various luncheon meats) and frankfurters on the attached list.

The products were distributed nationwide and shipped to foreign countries including South Korea and Russia.

"Because of the potential of foodborne illness, we urge consumers who have purchased the suspect product not to eat it and to return it to the point of purchase," said Margaret Glavin, associate administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

On December 31, 1998, FSIS suspended operations at Thorn Apple Valley based on the plant's non-compliance with pre-operational and operational sanitation requirements. Operations at the plant remain suspended at this time.

From July 1998 to December 1998, FSIS collected 20 ready-to-eat product samples from the plant with five testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes. None of the products from the lots testing positive were released into commerce, and therefore consumers could not purchase them. However, based on these repetitive findings, as well as conditions found in the plant, the agency concluded that there may be a significant public health risk associated with the product being recalled.

At this point, FSIS does not have evidence linking this product to the nationwide listeriosis outbreak, which is still under joint FSIS and CDC investigation. Also at this point, no consumer illnesses have been linked to these products.

Consumption of food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially serious disease. Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis. The most common manifestation of listeriosis is meningitis, which has symptoms of high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, and nausea. Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with weakened immune systems--infants, the frail or elderly, and persons with chronic disease, HIV infection, or taking chemotherapy for cancer.

Those concerned about illnesses they suspect are related to these products should contact their physicians immediately.

Consumers seeking information about the recall may contact the company at 1-800-839-2427.

Consumers with food safety questions may phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555. The hotline is staffed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday and recorded information is available 24 hours a day.


The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that the Company believes to be reliable, however, the Company has not independently verified or confirmed the information and the recipient acknowledges that no representations or warranties are being made in connection with the use of the information.