It has been a rough week for poultry. First, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had to remind us not to kiss or cuddle live chickens, ducks, and other fowl, as people doing so has been linked to Salmonella outbreaks reported in 43 states.
Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a public health alert for approximately 65 tons (130,860 pounds) of frozen fully cooked, diced chicken products because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Here’s what to know about the products affected.
Why is there a frozen chicken recall?
An FSIS inspector spotted the possible Listeria contamination during a routine inspection—specifically, that products requiring recooking had been repackaged without being recooked. Unfortunately, similarly affected poultry products had already made their way out into the world, and possibly into our freezers. On the bright side, at this point the USDA says that there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of the recalled frozen chicken.
What’s included in the USDA’s frozen chicken recall?
Given how much poultry is included in the recall, the USDA is advising all consumers to reheat ready-to-eat chicken until it’s steaming hot. The recalled frozen, fully cooked, diced chicken products were packed on Jan. 25, 2021, Jan. 26, 2021, March 23, 2021 and March 24, 2021, and include:
- 4-lb. plastic bags containing “FULLY COOKED CHICKEN MEAT ¾ DICED WHITE” with code 13530, Est. number P-18237, and pack dates of “01/25/2021″ and “01/26/2021.”
- 4-lb. plastic bags containing “FULLY COOKED CHICKEN MEAT DARK/WHITE ¾ DICED” with code 16598, Est. number P-45638, and pack dates “24/MAR/2021″ and “23/MAR/2021.”
You can find the chicken’s establishment numbers—“P-18237” or “P-45638”— inside the USDA mark of inspection.
The affected poultry was distributed by Big Daddy Foods, Inc. of Houston, Texas, and went out to food banks throughout Florida from Feb. 24, 2021–March 1, 2021, and March 29, 2021–April 8, 2021, packed into individual food boxes. The USDA public health alert has more information on the specific distribution locations of the recalled chicken.
What to do with recalled frozen chicken
First of all, if you have any of the recalled chicken at home, don’t eat it—the USDA says you should throw it away. Anyone experiencing symptoms of listeriosis—including fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions (sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms)—should seek medical attention right away.
If you have any food safety questions or concerns, you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday, or send a question via email to MPHotline@usda.gov .
You can report any problems with meat, poultry or egg products via the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System, which can be accessed 24 hours a day.