27.4 Million Pounds of Fresh and Frozen Ready-to-Eat Turkey and Chicken Products Recalled
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2002– Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, doing business as Wampler Foods Inc., a Franconia, Pa., establishment, is voluntarily recalling approximately 27.4 million pounds of fresh and frozen ready-to-eat turkey and chicken products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.

The products were produced between May 1 and Oct. 11. In addition, the establishment has voluntarily suspended operations.

The turkey and chicken products were distributed to retail stores, restaurants and institutions nationwide.

"We want consumers to be aware of the recall because of the potential for food-borne illness," said Dr. Garry L. McKee, FSIS administrator. "Diners may also wish to ask if their meals contain the recalled products."

Today’s recall, an expansion of the Oct. 9 recall of 295,000 pounds of turkey and chicken products, is the result of FSIS’ continuing scientific investigation into the cause of at least 120 illnesses, 20 deaths, and miscarriages in the Northeast from Listeria monocytogenes.

The Oct. 9 recall was prompted by a product sample taken by FSIS at the facility that tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. The strain found in the product does not match the strain common to illness victims. FSIS continued its investigation by taking additional product samples, as well as a large number of environmental samples from multiple locations in the plant.

Results of the product sampling from various days of production were all negative. However, environmental sampling demonstrated the presence in the plant of the Listeria monocytogenes strain matching the Oct. 9 recalled product.

FSIS has been working continuously since early September with other federal and state public health agencies in an attempt to discover the source of Listeria monocytogenes illnesses in the Northeast.

As part of that effort, FSIS’ Microbial Outbreaks and Special Projects Branch (MOSPB) laboratory in Athens, Ga., has conducted more than 400 tests on products that the agency regulates. The environmental samples were analyzed at the FSIS field lab in St. Louis, Mo.

In addition, more than 50 scientists at FSIS’ laboratories, regional epidemiologists, consumer safety officers, compliance officers and personnel in the field and at USDA headquarters have been dedicated to the investigation.

WWhile the investigation into Listeria monocytogenes illnesses continues, Dr. McKee commended the agencies that have participated thus far in the effort, saying that their cooperation has helped FSIS greatly.

"While I am very proud of our scientists and investigators for their skill and dogged determination, I am also heartened by the degree of cooperation FSIS has received from other public health agencies," Dr. McKee said. "This investigation can be held up as a model for how agencies should act in concert with one another to protect public health."

CConsumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease. Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with weak immune systems – infants, the frail or elderly and persons with chronic disease, HIV infection, or taking chemotherapy.

Because the recall was expanded to 27.4 million pounds, we suspect that the number of human illnesses and deaths are much higher than those stated with the first recall notice of 295,000 pounds.

There is absolutely no reason to have humans or animals suffer and die because of the production of food.  From our research, we believe all food-borne illnesses (so-called "stomach flu," for example) originate within the meat and dairy industries or from cross-contamination.  We believe that one day, in the not too distant future, the meat and dairy industries will be held financially responsible much in the same way that the tobacco industry has been held responsible for the illnesses and deaths that result from their products. 

IIn this single recall, we estimate that approximately 7,000,000 turkeys and chickens, as well as 20 humans, suffered and died needlessly because of the human greed and carelessness involved in this industry.  The humans had a choice whether or not to eat these animal products - the turkeys and chickens were not given a choice concerning their lives.

We don't need to eat animals or their by-products to live.  There is an abundance of plant based foods to satisfy our every need; and plant foods don't have the food-borne illness risks and hazards.  See our Recipes section for some helpful and healthful suggestions.

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.