300,000+ Lbs of Frozen Meatballs Recalled for Listeria

300,000+ Lbs of Frozen Meatballs Recalled for ListeriaBuona Vita, Inc., of Bridgeton, New Jersey is recalling 324,770 pounds of various frozen, ready-to-eat meat and poultry products over potential contamination with the dangerous, sometimes deadly, Listeria monocytogenes pathogen, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (UDSA) Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced. The recall ia designated a Class I, which means this represents a health hazard situation in which there exists a reasonable probability that the use of the recalled food will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

The recall involves frozen products in 10-and 30-pound cases in a variety of brands and descriptions that were produced on the following dates and bearing the following Case Codes; the packages bear the establishment number “P-954″ or “Est. 954″ inside the USDA mark of inspection and the products were sold to distribution facilities nationwide:

•    Produced May 3, 2012; Case Code 1242
•    Produced May 4, 2012; Case Code 1252
•    Produced May 7, 2012; Case Code 1282
•    Produced May 8, 2012; Case Code 1292
•    Produced May 9, 2012; Case Code 1302

Information on specific products can be accessed at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_042_2012_Release/index.asp, and, when available, the retail distribution list will be posted on FSIS’ website at www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/Open_Federal_Cases/index.asp.

The problem was discovered through microbiological testing by FSIS and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). Neither agency nor the company received reports of illnesses associated with these products; however, as we’ve long explained, the Listeria pathogen is unique because it tends to thrive in colder temperatures, such as those found in refrigerated environments. Listeria also has an unusually long incubation period—up to 70 days, according to experts—and well tolerates heat and dry temperatures, adding further challenges to the pathogen’s eradication and length to expected reporting time frames.

Listeria monocytogenes can lead to the listeriosis infection, a potentially fatal disorder that can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhea, and nausea, especially in those with weakened immune systems, infants, and the elderly. Vulnerable populations, such as the developing fetus, can suffer serious central nervous system problems. The infection can also prompt premature births, or the death of the fetus via miscarriage and stillbirth; pregnant women are 20 times likelier to become infected. Listeriosis can lead to hearing loss or brain damage in newborns, and to neurological effects and cardio respiratory failure in adults.

Buona Vita, Inc.’s Junior Vice President of Operations, Paul Infranco, can be reached at 1.856.453.7972. Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. “Ask Karen” live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1.888.MPHotline (1.888.674.6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

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