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August 18, 2003

Georgia Ag Department Finds Contaminated Mushrooms

(SafetyAlerts) - Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin announced today that Georgia Department of Agriculture food scientists have found two samples of a brand of sliced fresh mushrooms to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a species of potentially dangerous bacteria.

The mushrooms are South Mill Gourmet Slices and are sold in the produce section of grocery stores in 8-ounce containers labeled "Ready to Eat." The codes on the packages found to be contaminated are 213 SLI.A1005 AP and 212 SLIC A1404 BS. The mushrooms are packaged by South Mill Mushrooms, 649 West South Street, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially serious disease. 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, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections to infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems such as persons with chronic disease, AIDS or HIV infection or taking chemotherapy for cancer.

"Our inspectors will be checking stores to make sure the affected mushrooms are removed from shelves," said Commissioner Irvin.

"The Department's Food Lab tests samples pulled routinely by our inspectors from stores all over Georgia. At this point, we do not know how many of the mushrooms may be in Georgia stores. Anyone with concerns over the mushrooms may return them to the place of purchase for a refund," said Irvin.

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