Tyson Foods is recalling nearly 8.5 million pounds of frozen chicken that may have been contaminated with listeria, the Department of Agriculture said.
The voluntary recall was issued after Agriculture Department investigators were briefed last month on two people with listeriosis, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
An investigation found evidence linking these cases to frozen chicken from Tyson Foods, the agency said. Investigators eventually identified three cases related to the recalled products, including one fatality, the department said.
Symptoms of listeriosis, an infection caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, include fever, cramps, muscle pain and gastrointestinal problems, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
The recalled products were frozen, fully cooked chicken made between December and April, the department said. Products include chicken strips, chicken pizza, and pulled chicken breasts, which were sold under brand names such as Tyson, Jet’s Pizza, and Casey’s General Store.
The department announced that the “company code” P-7089 is printed on the packages.
In a statement, Tyson Foods said the recalled products were made at a facility in Dexter, Missouri. The company distributed the chicken to shops, hospitals, schools, restaurants and other locations, the Department of Agriculture said.
“We are committed to providing safe, healthy food that people rely on every day,” said Scott Brooks, senior vice president of food safety and quality assurance for Tyson Foods, in the statement. “We take this precautionary step out of great caution and in accordance with our security promise.”
The Department of Agriculture said it will continue its investigation to see if more listeriosis cases are linked to the recalled products.
The department asked people to throw away or return the recalled chicken. Pregnant women, adults over 65, and people with compromised immune systems are most susceptible to a severe case of listeriosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms usually appear one to four weeks after consuming food contaminated with listeria.