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The potential for Listeria contamination has prompted a Whole Foods recall of almost 4,000 pounds of processed meat products.
The ready-to-eat salami, pepperoni, chorizo and sopressata was manufactured by Olli Salumeria Americana of Oceanside, CA. The products are sold under the brand names of Olli and Gusto.
The processed meat was pulled from Whole Foods’ shelves after a routine inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency found them to be tainted with Listeria (Listeria monocytogenes), the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a press release.
The Whole Foods recall affects stores in 29 states and Canada. The eight packaged products – which all bear establishment number “M-45334” inside the USDA mark of inspection – are:
- 6-ounce packages of “Gusto NAPOLI APPLEWOOD-SMOKED SALAME” containing lot code 1000012821
- 6-ounce packages of “Gusto CHORIZO SMOKED PAPRIKA” containing lot code 1000012812
- 6-ounce packages of “Gusto SOPRESSATA BLACK PEPPERCORN SALAME” containing lot code 1000012811
- 6-ounce packages of “Gusto TOSCANO FENNEL POLLEN SALAME” containing lot code 1000012805
- 6-ounce packages of “Gusto PEPPERONI CLASSICALLY AMERICAN” containing lot code 1000012804
- 175-gram packages of “OLLI MOLISANA PEPPER + GARLIC SALAMI” containing lot code 1000012808.
- 175-gram packages of “OLLI NAPOLI APPLEWOOD-SMOKED SALAMI” containing lot code 1000012810.
- 175-gram packages of “OLLI CALABRESE SPICY SALAMI” containing lot code 1000012807.
The Whole Foods recall affects processed meats being sold in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Washington, D.C., is also affected.
There have been no reports of illnesses. Anyone who has bought these products should discard them, or return them to the store from which they were purchased.
Whole Foods recall:
Processed meats in the news
This Whole Foods recall comes on the heels of another headline-making event involving processed meats. In South Africa, nearly 1,000 people have been sickened and 180 people have died since the beginning of 2017 after consuming Listeria-tainted processed meats.
The event – one of the worst recorded foodborne illness outbreaks in history – recently prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a “Travel Watch.”
The CDC issues travel health notices to inform travelers and health-care professionals about issues related to specific destinations. Notices are issued when there are disease outbreaks, natural disasters, or other conditions that could affect the health of travelers.
Whole Foods recall:
Listeria facts and figures
Listeria is a bacterium whose full name is Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes). The bacterium produces listeriosis, a serious illness most commonly contracted by eating food contaminated with the Listeria bacterium.
The CDC estimates that about 1,600 people in the United States will become infected with Listeria annually, and about 260 of those who become infected will die. Because listeriosis can escalate rapidly, those who become infected generally require hospitalization.
The Listeria bacterium can infect anyone, but those who are most susceptible to serious complications include:
- pregnant women
- newborn babies
- senior citizens
- people with compromised immune systems.
Pregnant women must be particularly vigilant about avoiding food contaminated with Listeria. The bacterium can spread to the fetus and result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or infection of the baby. The CDC estimates that 20 percent of affected pregnancies will end in loss of the fetus, and 3 percent will end in stillbirth.
Pregnant women typically experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and fatigue. For other people, symptoms can include headaches, a stiff neck, disorientation, convulsions, and light sensitivity. Hospitalization is almost always required.
Like many other foodborne pathogens, the Listeria bacterium begins to grow in the digestive system. However, Listeria can spread to the bloodstream, affecting major organs and the central nervous system (including the brain). The incubation period can be anywhere from three days to two months, although symptoms usually occur within the first 30 days.
If Listeria spreads to the nervous system, it can result in bacterial meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord.