The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a public alert Friday, Aug. 7, that some sausage products from Bluegrass Provisions, Kentucky, might be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria Listeria monocytogenes.
The federal department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) clarified in a news release they did not issue a recall because they believe the sausages were not in the market anymore and were past their freeze-by dates.
The FSIS, however, expressed concern some of those contaminated sausages found their way to consumers’ freezers, hence the issuance of a warning urging people not to eat them.
The USDA alert warned eating food tainted with Listeria monocytogenes may lead to listeriosis, a severe infection that affects the elderly, those with weak immune systems, pregnant mothers and infants. The ready-to-eat smoked sausages were manufactured April 22 and sent to distributors and retail stores in North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, USA Today reported.
The alert covers some of the Bluegrass Provisions sausage packets such as those in 14-ounce packages that contain six pieces of the meat product. These include the Walnut Creek Foods Smoked Sausage, Blue Grass Mettwurst, Lidl Smoked Bratwurst and Lidl Smoked Bratwurst with cheese. All of them have a use or freeze-by date of July 23, 2020. The products also contain an establishment number “EST.7417” within the USDA mark of inspection.
The federal department disclosed in their health alert that inspectors discovered the problem after routine testing. The results showed one of the products was tainted with Listeria monocytogenes, leading inspectors to suspect other products may also be tainted due to cross-contamination.
“Consumers who bought these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase,” the alert said.
Listeriosis symptoms include muscle aches, confusion, fever, loss of balance, headaches, convulsions and stiff necks. Some of the symptoms are preceded by gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea.
The USDA also revealed there are cases of serious and, sometimes, fatal infections happening in older adults, as well as those with weak immune systems. In the case of pregnant women, the infection is known to cause stillbirths, premature delivery, miscarriages or severe infection in newborns.
Doctors use antibiotics to treat listeriosis. Patients who belong to higher-risk categories, particularly those who experience flu-like symptoms at least two months after consuming contaminated food, need to seek immediate medical care and inform health care personnel about the likelihood of ingesting contaminated food in the past.