Before you prepare pulled pork sandwiches or sausage and peppers for dinner tonight, check the meat in your fridge. Behrmann Meat and Processing Inc has recalled 87,382 pounds (nearly 44 tons) of assorted ready-to-eat pork and beef products, due to possible listeria contamination. The various meat items were produced from July 7, 2022 to September 9, 2022 and were distributed to retailers in Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri.
The list of ready-to-eat products includes, but is not limited to, pulled pork in BBQ sauce, blood sausage, cured pork hocks, bacon strips, beef weiners, smokehouse butterfly chops, sweet teriyaki beef sticks, boneless cured ham, pre-cooked bratwurst, bologna, and hot head cheese. The recalled products include the establishment number “EST 20917” inside the USDA mark of inspection. At this time, there have been no reported illnesses associated with the recall. A complete list of recalled products, including the lot numbers, can be found here.
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So what exactly is listeria anyway? Unlike salmonella, which tends to come and go pretty quickly, listeria can take up to 30 days to appear after you’ve eaten contaminated food. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Listeria is especially severe in elderly adults, pregnant people, newborns, and anyone else who has a compromised immune system. It generally does away on its own but can be treated with antibiotics.
I looked into why there are so many recalls and turns out, it actually means there are checks and bllanaces in place. “I’d be more concerned about a food system in which you never hear about recalls and there is an incentive to cover them up,” Dr. Ashton Merck, a historian who studies public health and the poultry industry, told me in an interview.