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No recall: Chicken served last month could still cause illnesses

Saturday, January 7, 2017 23:33
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Anyone who ate fajita or gyro dishes made with chicken strips in restaurants in the Cleveland, OH, area in December should monitor themselves for symptoms of Listeria infection in the coming weeks.

Ready-to-eat, fully cooked chicken breast strips produced by House of Raeford in Mocksville, NC, and shipped to restaurants in the Cleveland area may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, according to a Saturday warning from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

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The company, which produced the implicated chicken breast strips in September 2016, discovered the Listeria problem during routine testing, according to the FSIS notice. The notice did not indicate when the testing was conducted or when the results were reported.

“A recall was not requested because it is believed that all products have now been consumed,” according to the FSIS notice. “The ready to eat, fully cooked, chicken breast strips items were produced and packaged on Sept. 29, 2016, and served to consumers in December 2016.”

Although no illnesses had been reported in connection with the ready-to-eat chicken strips as of Jan. 7, it can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms of Listeria infection to develop.

“Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food,” according to the government warning.

Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns.

Symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection sometimes spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract.

In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections can occur in older adults, young children and people with weakened immune systems.

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