22,000 pounds of chicken, ham, and beef have been recalled due to a possible listeria contamination, Eatocracy reports. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that the meat has been sent to distributors and retailers in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, alongside Canada. The 22,000 pounds were in about 109,000 cases of refrigerated, ready-to-eat products.
There have been no reports of illness, but the recalled meat has made it into certain dishes. CNN states
Recalled products include several kinds of chicken salad, ham salad, barbecue beans with beef, and potato salad with bacon. They bear the establishment number EST. 13520 or P-13520 inside the USDA mark of inspection.
The packages will be marked with a use-by or best buy date and followed by a plant identifier code of 20, the FDA said. Consumers may take the product back for a refund or discard it.
The FDA has a list of affected products that may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause listeriosis. Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, gastrointestinal problems, headache, convulsions, and confusion, and typically affects older adults, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems. Thankfully, it can be treated with antibiotics.
What should you do in the situation that you find out your company has been selling a product possibly tainted? The first step is to immediately stop selling the item, even if you’re not sure if the cases you are carrying may or may not have been affected. If you are sure that your product is safe (as it doesn’t fall under a particular expiration date or packaging code), you may continue to sell it, or possible choose to continue withholding it for safety sake. If there are items that have been recalled, you should either dispose of the items or contact your distributor and return them. If you find out that you have been selling the items and someone has gotten sick, explain to them the situation and try to make it up to them. While you may not be particularly at fault for selling the product, you definitely want to offer a refund for the product, and a free meal or other form of apologies may go a long way in keeping business going while keeping customers on your side. In this situation, you may be a victim as much as the customer.
One thing you may want to consider is to reach out to consumers proactively. If you have a mailing list, inform them of this problem in an effort to prevent them from consuming, and offer for them to bring in the containers for a full refund. A sign near a counter or the same type of products may be an effective way at informing regulars of the situation and preventing them from possibly getting sick.
Accidents happen, and while a listeria contamination may not be your fault, you’ll need to take charge to keep your customers and your business healthy.