Amid the listeria contamination recall of nearly 9 million pounds of chicken manufactured by Tyson Foods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) expanded its warning to more ready-to-eat chicken products sold by other establishments and retailers.
The food first recalled included frozen fully cooked chicken strips, diced chicken, chicken wings and fully cooked pizza with chicken. Along with Tyson-branded chicken products, additional items sold under the Jet’s Pizza, Casey’s General Store, Marco’s Pizza and Little Caesars brands were recalled.
The latest update identified several ready-to-eat chicken meals sold at Circle K convenience stores. However, additional products may have been served from deli counters at other retail stores.
The 8,955,296 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken produced between Dec. 26, 2020, and April 13, 2021. was used in at least 30 recalled products that were shipped nationwide to stores, hospitals, long-term care facilities, restaurants, schools and Department of Defense locations. The establishment code “EST. P-7089” is printed on its bags or inside the USDA mark of inspection. Yet, additional product codes may be added to the recall, according to the USDA.
Recalled items should be thrown out or returned to the place of purchase. Make sure to clean your freezer or refrigerator as well as any other surfaces that may have come in contact with the recalled products.
Advice for older adults and people with weakened immune systems
- Reheat precooked chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Precooked chicken is usually sold refrigerated or frozen.
- Don't eat cold dishes made with precooked chicken, such as chicken salad or chilled chicken from a salad bar, deli counter or the refrigerated section of the grocery store. If you make cold dishes with precooked chicken, reheat it before adding it to a cold dish.
- Contact your health care provider if you have any symptoms of severe listeria illness after eating precooked chicken.
So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified three illnesses linked to contaminated chicken that all required hospitalization. One of the three patients died. Between April 6 and June 5, infections were reported from people in Texas and Delaware, and all of the cases occurred at long-term care facilities or hospitals. The actual number of infections is likely higher, though, because it usually takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak. What's more, those who recover without medical care are not tested for listeria.
Symptoms of a listeria infection
Listeria monocytogenes most often causes sickness in adults 65 and older, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and newborns. Anyone with symptoms of listeriosis (the infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium) should call a health care provider. Symptoms of listeriosis include:
- stiff neck
- loss of balance
- muscle aches
People usually report symptoms one to four weeks after eating food contaminated with listeria. But some have reported symptoms as late as 70 days after exposure or as early as the same day of exposure. Listeriosis is detected by a lab test and treated with antibiotics.
About 1,600 people in the U.S. get listeriosis each year, resulting in about 260 deaths, the CDC estimates. Americans 65 and older are four times more likely to get a listeria infection.
Join today and get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect new information from the USDA.
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.