Listeria Contamination Fears Lead to Over 200,000 Pounds of Pork Recalled

A Michigan-based company is recalling more than 234,000 pounds of its pork products due to the risk of being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Sunday.

Alexander & Hornung voluntarily recalled approximately 234,391 pounds of fully cooked ham and pepperoni products after the St. Clair Shores company notified FSIS that product sampling showed positive Listeria monocytogenes results.

Alexander & Hornung, which is a unit of Perdue Premium Meat Co., Inc., said in a press release that it initiated the recall "out of an abundance of caution," noting that no illnesses or complaints associated with the products had been reported so far.

The affected products include Alexander & Hornung branded fully cooked products as well as private label products made for retail customers, it said.

The products subject to recall carry the establishment number "EST.10125" inside the USDA mark of inspection, the company added.

The FSIS urged consumers who may have purchased products affected by the recall against consuming them.

"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' refrigerators or freezers," the health regulatory agency said. "These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."

Consuming food products contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause a serious infection called listeriosis, which largely affects older adults, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns, the FSIS noted.

Symptoms of listeriosis can include muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

The FSIS announcement states that in pregnant women, listeriosis can lead to miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn. Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur in older people and in the immunocompromised, said the FSIS.

The agency advised individuals in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food to seek medical care. The infection is treated with antibiotics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1,600 people develop listeriosis each year in the U.S., and about 260 die from the infection. The federal agency estimates that it is the third leading cause of death from foodborne illness, or food poisoning, in the country.

"There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider," Alexander & Hornung noted in a statement.

The company also urged consumers with questions to contact them on 1-866-866-3703.

Danish sliced rolled meat speciality called Rullepoels
A picture taken on March 24, 2006 in Copenhagen shows Danish sliced rolled meat speciality called Rullepoelse. Alexander & Hornung voluntarily recalled approximately 234,391 pounds of fully cooked ham and pepperoni products due to the risk of being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. NILS MEILVANG/AFP/Getty Images