The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Saturday that the recalled products included frozen meatballs, pre-made meat patties and loafs and other frozen meals. The USDA branded the recall as "Class I," saying there is a high health risk that a product may cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.
Bueno Vita, Inc., based in Bridgeton, N.J., produces nearly 200,000 pounds of meatballs daily, according to its website.
The items in question include: Some products produced on May 3, 2012 with a case code of "1242," May 4 with a "1252" code, May 7 with a "1282" code, May 8 with a "1292" code and May 9 with a "1302" code. The links above contain images of the products' labels.
Possible Listeria contamination was discovered through routine testing by the FSIS and Ohio Department of Agriculture. Health officials nor Buona Vita have not received and reports of illnesses.
Listeria infection, also called listeriosis, can cause fever, diarrhea, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions in some patients who ingest the bacteria. Some people who consume the bacteria may not experience any symptoms, but older adults, pregnant women, or people with weakened immune systems are especially at risk.
Older adults and people with weakened immune systems may develop serious complications like septicemia and meningitis, while infections in pregnant women may lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or life-threatening infections in the newborn.
Last year, an outbreak of listeriosis caused by cantaloupes grown in Colorado sickened 146 people across 28 states, also killing 30 people and causing one woman to suffer a miscarriage.
Consumers with questions about the current recall should contact Buona Vita, Inc., at 1-856-453-7972.
The USDA says people at risk for listeriosis should wash their hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling meat and should wash cutting boards, dishes and other utensils with hot and soapy water. The agency also urges people to use precooked or ready-to-eat food as soon as you can, because Listeria can grow in the refrigerator. The fridge should be set at 40 degrees F or lower and the freezer 0 degrees F or lower.
The CDC has more on Listeria infection. Call 1-556-453-7972 for more information.