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USDA issues public heath alert for frozen, cooked chicken distributed at Florida food banks

Chicken may be contaminated with Listeria, according to the USDA
Posted at 7:45 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 20:46:43-04

WFTX — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a public health alert for more than 130,000 pounds of frozen, fully cooked diced chicken products that were distributed at food banks across Florida.

The chicken may be contaminated with Listeria, according to the USDA. The chicken was packed on Jan. 25 and 26 and March 23 and 24, 2021 and distributed by Big Daddy Foods, Inc., a Houston, Texas, business.

The problem was discovered during an inspection when officials observed products requiring recooking due to possible contamination had been repackaged without being recooked. A subsequent investigation found other affected product had also been distributed, the USDA said.

There have been no confirmed reports of anyone getting sick from consuming these products, but the alert says consuming food contaminated with the bacteria can cause listeriosis, an infection that primarily affects older adults, those with weakened immune systems and pregnant women and their newborns. The infection can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions and gastrointestinal symptoms.

In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. Serious and sometimes fatal infections can occur in older adults and those with weakened immune systems, the USDA says.

The alert urges consumers who have received the chicken products to throw them away and not eat them. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

The following products are subject to the public health alert:

  • 4-lb. plastic bags containing "FULLY COOKED CHICKEN MEAT ¾ DICED WHITE" with code 13530, Est. number P-18237, and pack dates of "01/25/2021" and "01/26/2021."
  • 4-lb. plastic bags containing "FULLY COOKED CHICKEN MEAT DARK/WHITE ¾ DICED" with code 16598, Est. number P-45638, and pack dates "24/MAR/2021" and "23/MAR/2021."

The products bear establishment numbers “P-18237” or “P-45638” inside the USDA mark of inspection, the public health alert says.

The chicken was distributed through the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program between Feb. 24 through March 1, and March 29 through April 8, at temporary locations. More details about where the boxes were distributed can be found here: Distribution List 1 and Distribution List 2.

The USDA says all consumers should reheat ready-to-eat products until steaming hot to avoid the risk of foodborne illness.

Anyone with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline or email MPHotline@usda.gov.

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