A recall of fully cooked ham and pepperoni products expanded from approximately 230,000 pounds of pork to over 2 million pounds over concerns that they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced.
Alexander & Hornung, based in Michigan and a business unit of Perdue Premium Meat Company, notified the USDA of the concern after product sampling tested positive for the bacterium. As of the Dec. 15 announcement there have been no confirmed reports of illness due to consumption of the recalled products.
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The affected pork products, primarily boneless hams and semiboneless spiral-sliced hams that are popular around the holidays, were supplied nationwide to supermarkets including Whole Foods, Big Y and Albertsons-owned chains such as Safeway, among others. Brands subject to the recall include:
- Alexander & Hornung
- Amish Country
- Amish Valley
- Big Y
- Butcher Boy
- Five Star
- Food Club
- Garrett Valley Farms
- Niman Ranch
- Open Nature
The recalled products bear establishment number “EST. M10125” inside the USDA mark of inspection. See the full list of products with associated dates here.
Consumers who purchased the recalled products are urged not to consume them and instead throw them away or return them to the place of purchase. Anyone with questions may call the Alexander & Hornung Hotline at 866-866-3703.
Symptoms of a listeria infection
Listeriosis, the infection caused by eating food contaminated with the listeria bacterium, may cause serious and sometimes fatal illness in adults 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women and newborns are also subject to serious infections from the bacterium. Symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, fever, muscle aches and convulsions, according to the USDA.
People usually report symptoms one to four weeks after eating food contaminated with listeria. But some people have reported symptoms as late as 70 days after exposure and as early as the day of exposure. Listeriosis is diagnosed with a bacterial culture and treated with antibiotics.
About 1,600 people in the U.S. get listeriosis each year, resulting in 260 deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. Americans 65 and over are four times as likely as others to get a listeria infection.
Editor's note: This article, originally published Dec. 10, has been updated with the recall's expansion.
Aaron Kassraie writes about issues important to military veterans and their families for AARP. He also serves as a general assignment reporter. Kassraie previously covered U.S. foreign policy as a correspondent for the Kuwait News Agency’s Washington bureau and worked in news gathering for USA Today and Al Jazeera English.