In recent months, listeria-contaminated products have been a prime suspect in your monthly fridge clean out. The bacteria has found its way into almost everything, from Target deli salads and sandwiches to your favorite brands of hummus. Now, it’s affecting chicken products across the country.
In September, Tip Top Poultry issued a chicken recall after several products tested positive for listeria contamination. It affected products at chains like Target and Trader Joe’s—and now the roster of grocery chains has just been expanded to include Aldi, Kroger, Food Lion, Giant Piggly Wiggly and others across the country. You can find a link to the FSIS statement here.
What Products Are Recalled?
Tip Top Poultry makes ready-to-eat chicken products, which includes frozen meals, shredded chicken and some ingredients sold at deli counters and restaurants, like Jersey Mike’s. It can be hard to nail down all of the products included, but you can find a comprehensive list of recalled products here. Be wary of any pre-shredded chicken or any sort of frozen chicken products, including potpies and TV dinners. Be cautious of deli meats and any restaurants serving up chicken products over the counter, too.
Right now, there are no cases of illness linked to the chicken recall. The recall was issued out of an abundance of caution. Still, Tip Top Poultry urges consumers to take a peek in their fridges and freezers to ensure no bacteria is hiding in the background.
How Do I Know If I Have This Chicken?
It might not be as hard to find contaminated products in your fridge as you think. All of the recalled items are stamped with establishment number “Est. P-17453” inside the USDA mark of inspection. If you see that number, you’ll know to throw it out. You should also look out for all shredded and diced ready-to-eat chicken products sold between January 21, 2019 and September 24, 2019. Throw out all chicken items with number stamps that range between these codes: 10000-19999 and 70000-79999.
You can direct any questions to Garret Rutherford with Brand Apart at (404) 220-9618. You can also reach the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.
I Have One of These Products! What Should I Do?
If you find contaminated chicken, you can do one of two things. First, you can throw it out and wait until the recall blows over to re-purchase your favorite chicken goods. Alternatively, you can return your goods to the place of purchase. Most grocery chains will accept returns and provide a full refund for recalled products. Just make sure you stick to beef or pork for dinner tonight.
How Can I Avoid Getting Listeria?
Listeria is a tricky beast because it can grow in both livestock and food processing plants, and it tends to hang out in grocery stores. The best way to avoid it is to heed the warnings of recalls. You should only buy milk and soft cheeses that are pasteurized and cook sprouts, like alfalfa, very thoroughly before consuming. Meat is especially susceptible, and you should know cold cuts and hot dogs can only be kept sealed in the refrigerator for two weeks. Once the meat has been opened, you should only allow seven days before finishing it off or throwing it out. For more tips and tricks, check out our guide to protecting your family from listeria.
If you experience any of the flu-like symptoms associated with a listeria outbreak, contact your physician immediately.