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Safety Alerts
October 26, 1999

Recall of Sabrett and Western Beef Skinless Beef Frankfurters Expanded

East Rutherford, N.J. (SafetyAlerts) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that Marathon Enterprises, Inc., is voluntarily recalling all of its skinless beef frankfurters produced at one of its three plants because the frankfurters may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

The plant where these products were produced is Establishment 8854, in the Bronx, N.Y. These products were distributed nationwide. 

The recall has now been expanded to include All 16-oz. and five-pound packages of "Sabrett" brand Skinless Beef Frankfurters and "Western Beef" brand Skinless Beef Frankfurters with "EST 8854" inside the USDA seal of inspection.

Today's action is an expansion of an earlier recall of these products.  On Oct. 13, the firm began voluntarily recalling approximately 52,000 pounds of franks suspected of being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Subsequent testing by the company of product from other production dates prompted the firm to expand the recall today.

After samples collected and analyzed by the company returned positive results, Marathon Enterprises, Inc., initiated recall actions and immediately notified USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The plant involved, located in the Bronx, N.Y., closed voluntarily on Oct. 14. No additional product has been produced at or shipped from the plant since then.

"Because of the potential of foodborne illness, we urge consumers who have purchased the suspect product not to eat it, but to return it to the point of purchase," said FSIS administrator Thomas J. Billy.

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, with HIV infection, or taking chemotherapy.

Currently, there is no definitive evidence that links any illnesses to this product. However, FSIS is working with the Centers for Disease Control and the involved states in investigating whether there is a link between this product and a listeriosis outbreak in areas where this product has been distributed. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician immediately.

Consumers or media with questions about the recall can call Ralph Morano of Marathon Enterprises, Inc., at 1-800-722-7388, ext. 208.

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