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Update: Cooked Chicken Tests Positive for Listeria

photo of chicken label

This story was updated Oct. 9, 2019, with additional warnings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Aug. 21, 2019 -- More than 135,000 pounds of cooked chicken products sold in bulk to businesses like restaurants and hotels are being recalled after a sample tested positive for listeria bacteria.

The chicken was processed by Tip Top Poultry of Rockmart, GA. It was sold under brand names Tip Top, Sysco, Gordon, and West Creek.

The fully cooked and cut-up chicken was sold in 10-, 30-, 900- and 990-pound packages to institutions, restaurants, and hotels, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was not sold in grocery stores. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Oct. 8, 2019, warned consumers that the Tip Top products may have been used in additional products that were sold in retail stores, such as ready-to-eat chicken products sold at the deli counter. These products were sold to major grocery retailers in 35 states. For a list of all states and stores were the products were sold visit the USDA website.   

Eating food contaminated with listeria can cause fever, muscle aches, headaches, preceded by diarrhea or other digestive symptoms. In more severe cases, the infection can cause a stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. The symptoms are usually more severe in people who very young or elderly, pregnant, or others who have a weakened immune system.

The infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.

Symptoms typically hit 2 to 3 weeks after eating tainted food, but in rare cases, it can take up to 70 days for symptoms to appear.

The problem came to light when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency tested a sample of the chicken that turned out to be positive for the bacteria. It alerted U.S. food regulators.

Canada has been investigating an unusually severe outbreak of listeriosis, which has hospitalized six of the seven people who have fallen ill.

Consumers who have questions about this recall can contact Terry Bruce, Tip Top Poultry’s senior vice president for operational quality, at 770-973-8070.

WebMD Health News Brief Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on August 21, 2019

Sources

News release, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Aug. 20, 2019.

Public health notice, Public Health Agency of Canada, Aug. 19, 2019.

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