Alert Issued for Potentially Listeria-Tainted Deli Meat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) just issued a public health alert due to illnesses possibly associated with ready-to-eat (RTE) deli meat products that may be contaminated with <"">Listeria monocytogenes.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) informed the FSIS that products subject to recall in Canada may have been exported to the United States. This public health alert was initiated after positive test results and an investigation by CFIA in response to a listeriosis illness outbreak. At this time, no confirmed linkage has been made between the products subject to recall and the reported illnesses. This is an ongoing investigation and as more information becomes available, FSIS may proceed with a recall action.

Implicated products, produced by Siena Foods LTD, in Toronto, Ontario, include, but are not limited to, “Cacciatore Salami, Mild,” “Coppa,” “Prosciuttini,” “Prosciuttini Hot,” and “Prosciutto Cotto.” The individually wrapped products have variable weights and a “Best Before” date through June 22, 2010, as well as the establishment number “Est. 212″ inside the CFIA mark of inspection. Of note, the original brand and/or best before dates may not have been transferred at the deli counters to consumer packages. Persons who may have purchased any of these products and do not know the original brand and code are advised to check with their retailer or supplier to determine if they have the affected product.

Listeriosis, the food borne disease caused by the Listeria pathogen, is dangerous and can often be deadly, causing serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer short-term symptoms, such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In pregnant women, Listeriosis can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or birth of a baby suffering from the infection.

Pregnant women are about 20 times likelier than others to be infected, with about one-third of all Listeriosis cases occurring during pregnancy. Listeriosis can kill fetuses, prompt premature births, and can lead to hearing loss or brain damage in newborns and neurological effects and cardio respiratory failure in adults.

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact the CFIA, toll-free, at 1-800- 442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735. Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at 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. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

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