New Jersey Company Recalls Ham Products Over Possible Listeria

Specialities Agro Alimentation, of Millington, New Jersey, is recalling approximately 5,700 pounds of imported boneless Serrano ham products that may be contaminated with <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/listeria">Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), just announced.

This recall has been designated a Class I recall, which means that this recall involves a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

For susceptible populations, infection with the Listeria pathogen can cause significant illnesses linked to the central nervous system, the developing fetus, and placenta. Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause Listeriosis, a potentially fatal foodborne Illness that infects about 2,500 people in the U.S., killing 500 each year. Listeriosis symptoms include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, nausea, abdominal cramps and pain, and diarrhea. Pregnant women are 20 times likelier to be infected and Listeriosis can kill fetuses, can prompt premature births, can lead to hearing loss or brain damage in newborns, and can prompt neurological effects and cardio respiratory failure in adults.

Approximately 11 pound cases of “Noel Jamón Serrano Boneless Spanish Dry-Cured Ham” and “Bloc Noel Serrano Ham,” with production codes “11000481” or “11000119” on the shipping container and the label on the ham. In addition, each product package subject to this recall bears “Product of Spain” and the establishment number “Est. 26″ (Spain) on the label.

The products were produced on various dates and shipped to retailers nationwide. Consumers who purchased this product at a retailer will not find the production code on their package, and should consult the retailer where their purchases were made should they have any questions.

Neither the FSIS nor the company have received reports of illness or adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician. Of note, it can take some time following consumption of Listeria-contaminated foods for symptoms to manifest.

FSIS noted that it routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of recalls and that steps are taken to ensure that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/Open_Federal_Cases/index.asp

This problem was discovered by FSIS microbiological testing of the imported product, resulting in a positive sample for Listeria monocytogenes. The production lots that tested positive were refused entry into the U.S. and are not available in commerce. FSIS notified Spanish authorities of the positive test results, the authorities then conducted an assessment of the Spanish facility where this product was produced; they discovered associated products entered the country separately. These are the products that were released into commerce and are subject to the recall.

The firm’s president, Ron Schinbeckler, can be reached, toll-free at 1.800.899.6689. Additional information regarding FSIS’s import inspection and sampling procedures can be found at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Regulations_&_Policies/fsis_import_reinspection/index.asp

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. 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, Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

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