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Sopressata Sausage Recalled for Listeria

Dec 23, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) has just announced that DeNiro Cheese, a Youngstown, Ohio, firm, has recalled approximately one pound of its Sopressata sausage products because they may be contaminated with the food borne bacteria Listeria monocytogenes.  The sausage product is packaged in 12-ounce approximate weight packages of "Nostrano SOPRESSATA MILD SAUSAGE, PRODUCT OF CANADA."  Each package bears a use-by date of "07/09/09," a product code of "91009," and "CANADA 476A" inside the Canadian mark of inspection.

The FSIS reported that the sausage product was produced on October 9 and sent to one Italian specialty retailer in Boardman, Ohio.  The problem was discovered through FSIS routine microbiological testing; the FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of the recalled sausage product.  Consumers with questions about the DeNiro Cheese sausage recall are advised by the FSIS to contact DeNiro Cheese company President Greg DeNiro at (330) 746-6011.

Listeria is a bacterium found in soil, vegetation, raw milk, meat, poultry, cheeses (particularly soft mold-ripened varieties), and salad vegetables as well as in animals and humans.  It is estimated that about 2,500 cases of listeria occur in the United States each year with about 200 in every 1000 cases resulting in death.  Listeria monocytogenes can grow at low temperatures, even in refrigerated environments; thorough cooking of food and milk pasteurization can destroy the Listeria bacteria.  Listeria often invades the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract and, once in the body, can travel through the blood stream.  The bacteria are often 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.  Pregnant women 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%.  Those with compromised immune systems—such as those undergoing chemotherapy treatment or those 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.

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