October 14, 2002
Pilgrim’s Pride and Wampler Foods Has Recalled
27.4 million pounds of fresh and frozen ready-to-eat turkey and chicken
Franconia, PA (SafetyAlerts)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said that
Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation has recalled approximately 27.4 million pounds
of fresh and frozen ready-to-eat turkey and chicken products that may be
contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
The products were produced between May 1 and Oct. 11. In addition, the
establishment has voluntarily suspended operations.
The turkey and chicken products were distributed to retail stores,
restaurants and institutions nationwide.
"We want consumers to be aware of the recall because of the potential for
foodborne illness," said Dr. Garry L. McKee, FSIS administrator. "Diners may
also wish to ask if their meals contain the recalled products."
Today’s recall, an expansion of the Oct. 9 recall of 295,000 pounds of
turkey and chicken products, is the result of FSIS’ continuing scientific
investigation into the cause of illnesses, deaths and miscarriages in the
Northeast from Listeria monocytogenes.
The Oct. 9 recall was prompted by a product sample taken by FSIS at the
facility that tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. The strain found
in the product does not match the strain common to illness victims. FSIS
continued its investigation by taking additional product samples, as well as
a large number of environmental samples from multiple locations in the
Results of the product sampling from various days of production were all
negative. However, environmental sampling demonstrated the presence in the
plant of the Listeria monocytogenes strain matching the Oct. 9 recalled
FSIS has been working continuously since early September with other federal
and state public health agencies in an attempt to discover the source of
Listeria monocytogenes illnesses in the Northeast.
As part of that effort, FSIS’ Microbial Outbreaks and Special Projects
Branch (MOSPB) laboratory in Athens, Ga., has conducted more than 400 tests
on products that the agency regulates. The environmental samples were
analyzed at the FSIS field lab in St. Louis, Mo.
In addition, more than 50 scientists at FSIS’ laboratories, regional
epidemiologists, consumer safety officers, compliance officers and personnel
in the field and at USDA headquarters have been dedicated to the
While the investigation into Listeria monocytogenes illnesses continues, Dr.
McKee commended the agencies that have participated thus far in the effort,
saying that their cooperation has helped FSIS greatly.
"While I am very proud of our scientists and investigators for their skill
and dogged determination, I am also heartened by the degree of cooperation
FSIS has received from other public health agencies," Dr. McKee said. "This
investigation can be held up as a model for how agencies should act in
concert with one another to protect public health."
Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause
listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease. Healthy people
rarely contract listeriosis. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe
headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages
and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections in those
with weak immune systems – infants, the frail or elderly and persons with
chronic disease, HIV infection, or taking chemotherapy.
Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician.
Consumers with questions about the recall may contact the company’s consumer
information recall hotline at (877) 260-7110. Media with questions about the
recall may contact Ray Atkinson, public relations manager, Pilgrim's Pride
Corporation, at (540) 896-0406.