If you're a fan of ready-to-eat chicken salads, you'll want to check your labels. Nearly a quarter-million pounds of products made by Boston Salads and Provisions Company were recalled on Thursday due to possible Listeria contamination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
"Case labels or packaging may bear the sell by dates ranging from '9/13/2013' through '11/4/2013' as well as the establishment number 'P-17999' inside the USDA mark of inspection," wrote the USDA in its statement. "Although product included in this recall may be expired, FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen in consumer or retail freezers."
The problem was discovered by the New Hampshire Department of Public Health, which found Listeria in two samples tested. The salads in question were distributed to Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Listeria can be very serious, especially for the elderly. From the USDA statement:
"Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.
"Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food."