Ready-to-Eat Ham Recalled Amid Deadly Listeria Outbreak

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
October 5, 2018Updated: October 5, 2018

More than 89,000 pounds of ready-to-eat ham products are being recalled due to possible listeria contamination linked to four cases of illness and one death.

The recall was announced after the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said on Oct. 4, that ham products produced at Johnston County Hams have been linked to an outbreak of listeriosis.

“The epidemiologic investigation identified a total of four listeriosis confirmed illnesses, including one death, between July 8, 2017, and August 11, 2018,” the recall announcement said.

The recall includes ham products sold in Maryland, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia.

The illnesses were reported in North Carolina and Virginia. All of the patients were hospitalized, and the death was reported in Virginia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The USDA collected two product samples from the Johnston County Hams North Carolina facility in 2016 and in 2018. Both samples were genetically related to samples of listeria from the outbreak patients.

Johnston County Hams said that 89,096 pounds of ready-to-eat deli loaf ham products produced between April 3, 2017, and Oct. 2, 2018, are part of the recall.

“Safety is a top priority for Johnston County Hams and we have issued a voluntary recall of our ready-to-eat deli loaf ham products. We are deeply saddened that consumers were harmed by our products. We are committed to identifying the root cause and taking proper corrective actions in close collaboration with the USDA and CDC. In addition, we have notified our distribution partners and will continue efforts to notify the public,” Johnston County Hams said in a statement, WRAL reported.

Listeriosis is a serious bacterial infection that often leads to hospitalization and death for one out of every five infected, according to the CDC. Most at risk for the foodborne listeriosis are the elderly, pregnant women and their newborns, and those with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and gastrointestinal symptoms, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions.

“An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract,” the FSIS recall notice said. “In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.”

According to the FSIS, these are the recalled ham products, produced between April 3, 2017, and Oct. 2:

Varying weights of 7 pounds to 8 pounds plastic-wrapped “Johnston Country Hams Inc. Country Style Fully Cooked Boneless Deli Ham.

contaminated ham

Varying weights of 7 pounds to 8 pounds plastic wrapped: Ole Fashioned Sugar Cured The Old Dominion Brand Hams Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham with Sell-By dates from 4/10/2018 to 9/27/2019.

recalled ham

Varying weights of 7 pounds to 8 pounds plastic wrapped: Padow’s Hams & Deli, Inc. Fully Cooked Country Ham Boneless Glazed with Brown Sugar.

recalled ham
Ham product recalled by the USDA on Oct. 4, 2018. (USDA/FSIS)

Varying weights of 7 pounds to 8 pounds plastic wrapped: Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham LESS SALT Distributed By: Valley Country Hams LLC with a Sell-By dates from 4/10/2018 to 9/27/2019.

recalled ham
A ham product recalled on Oct. 4, 2018. (USDA/FSIS)

Varying weights of 7 pounds to 8 pounds plastic wrapped: Goodnight Brothers Country Ham Boneless Fully Cooked.

recalled ham

The products subject to recall feature the number EST. M2646 inside the USDA mark of inspection, according to the USDA notice.

Consumers who have any recalled products should take them to the store for a refund or throw them out, the CDC said. “Even if some ham was eaten and no one got sick, do not eat it. If you do not know if the ham you purchased was recalled, ask the place where you purchased it or throw it away.”

The CDC also urges those in possession of the recalled ham products to wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators and freezers where the ham was stored.

The CDC has posted a five-step instruction sheet on the proper sanitization of refrigerators.

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