Tip Top Poultry recall expands reach: nothing official yet on connection to August outbreak

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Source: Food Safety News

Tip Top Poultry Inc.’s  Rockmart, GA, plant has updated its Sept. 28 recall of an undetermined amount of ready-to-eat (RTE) poultry products that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes, The update is to alert consumers that the recalled ready-to-eat poultry products were used in additional products.

Some of the products may have been served from the deli counter in grocery stores. A list of retailers can be found in the linked spreadsheet. Additional labels have also been made available here. FSIS will update the retailer list and labels as more information becomes available. Some products that may have been affected by this recall are listed on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website at https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts.

Tip Top’s listeria-contaminated chicken is the likely source of an outbreak strain of  Listeria monocytogenes the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been investigating since before Aug. 23., according to the Food Safety News report on Oct. 7.

Neither CDC nor the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has yet to link Tip Top officially to the outbreak announced on Aug. 23. As of that date, no source had been identified for a Listeria outbreak that had infected 24, hospitalized 22, and caused two deaths across 13 states.

Tip Top’s frozen cooked, diced or shredded, RTE chicken products were produced between January 21, 2019, and September 24, 2019. The products subject to recall can be found in this spreadsheet. [View Labels (PDF only)].

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “Est. P-17453” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to institutions nationwide in the United States and Canada (see the recalled products distributed in Canada).

The severe risk to human health was discovered when the firm notified FSIS that multiple samples of products produced by Tip Top Poultry, Inc. confirmed positive for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes after being tested in Canada. The firm decided to recall all cooked, diced or shredded, RTE chicken products produced from January 21, 2019, through September 24, 2019, with product codes ranging from 10000 to 19999 and 70000 to 79999. Tip Top expanded the dates and the scope of the recall out of an abundance of caution.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.  That does not necessarily mean Tip Top’s products won’t be linked to the August outbreak.  Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.

Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection 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 in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. 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.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in institutional and consumers’ refrigerators and freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them and institutions that have purchased these products are urged not to serve them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, a retail distribution list(s), if applicable, will be posted on the FSIS website.

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