Sausage Recall over Listeria ContaminationDec 26, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP
In another case of possible listeria contamination, a variety of T. Piekutowski European Style Sausage Krakow sausages are being recalled. The Associated Press (AP) reports that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that the potentially tainted sausages were produced on December 18 and sold at the T. Piekutowski European Style Sausage retail counter in St. Louis, Missouri. Reuters noted, according to a statement released by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), consumers might have bought the sausages December 18-19.
The Cattle Network reported that T. Piekutowski European Style Sausage is recalling approximately 750 pounds of Krakow sausage, which were sold in various sizes and wrapped in unmarked butcher paper with no label. The recalled T. Piekutowski European Style Sausage Krakow sausages were custom-wrapped at the company store and do not bear the company number or the USDA inspection mark, said Reuters. The contamination was discovered through FSIS routine microbiological testing, said the Cattle Network, which is advising consumers with questions to contact T. Piekutowski European Style Sausage company Owner-Operator Ted Piekutowski at (314) 534-6256.
The listeria bacterium is found in soil, vegetation, raw milk, meat, poultry, cheeses (particularly soft mold-ripened varieties), and salad vegetables. It is estimated that about 2,500 cases of listeria occur in the United States annually with about 200 in every 1000 cases resulting in death. Listeria monocytogenes can grow at low temperatures, even in refrigerated environments and often invades the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract. Once in the body, listeria can travel through the blood stream and is found inside cells where toxins are produced resulting in damaged cells. Listeriosis—the illness caused by the listeria bacteria—symptoms can develop in days or weeks and can vary from a mild flu-like illness to meningitis and septicemia; pregnant women can experience anything from miscarriage, still birth, or birth of an infected child are about 20 times likelier than others to be infected, with about one-third of listeriosis cases occurring during pregnancy. The incidence of listeriosis in newborns is 8.6 per 100,000 live births and the perinatal and neonatal mortality rate (stillbirths and early infant deaths) is 80 percent. People with compromised immune systems—such as those undergoing chemotherapy treatment or diagnosed with HIV/AIDs and hepatitis—the very young, and the very old are also at risk.
All at-risk individuals are advised to avoid certain foods, such as soft mold-ripened cheeses and pates, given those foods’ high incidence of being linked to listeria infection. To avoid listeria contamination, consumers are generally advised to thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources; keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and from cooked and ready-to-eat foods; avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk; wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods; wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating; and consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible and within their expiration dates.
Earlier this week, FSIS announced that DeNiro Cheese, a Youngstown, Ohio, firm recalled some of its Sopressata sausage products over concerns of Listeria monocytogenes contamination also discovered through FSIS routine microbiological testing.