Public health alert issued for nearly 131,000 pounds of frozen chicken amid listeria concerns

WASHINGTON — Federal inspectors issued a public health alert Monday for roughly 130,860 pounds of frozen chicken products due to listeria contamination concerns.

The frozen, fully cooked, diced chicken products were distributed by Houston-based Big Daddy Foods Inc. and further distributed to Florida food bank consumers through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program.

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According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the affected products include:

• 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 were distributed between Feb. 25-March 1 and March 29-April 8 at multiple temporary locations, FSIS stated.

According to a news release, the problem was discovered during routine FSIS inspections when personnel “observed products requiring recooking due to possible [listeria] contamination had been repackaged without being recooked.”

No reports of illness or adverse reactions linked to the products have been confirmed to date, and consumers are encouraged to dispose of the items immediately.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes can cause a condition known as listeriosis, which affects an estimated 1,600 people each year, resulting in roughly 260 deaths.

The infection – which can cause fever, muscle aches, headaches, stiff neck, confusion, balance issues, convulsions and gastrointestinal symptoms – is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older and people with weakened immune systems, the CDC stated.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service advises all consumers to reheat ready-to-eat products until they are “steaming hot.”