Four listeria illnesses, including one death, link to ready-to-eat, deli-loaf ham products made at Johnston County Hams, the USDA said Wednesday night. Thus, a recall of 89,096 pounds of ham products made by Johnston County Hams and sold under five different brand names.
The products went to distributors in Maryland, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina and Virginia, according to the recall notice.
Listeria sickens about 1,600 people each year, the Centers for Disease Control says, bringing fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions. Sometimes diarrhea appears with the other symptoms. The most vulnerable to listeria are senior citizens, children under 5 and people with damaged immune systems. Pregnant women can suffer miscarriages and stillbirths.
The recall notice said upon hearing last Thursday of another listeria case, USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, CDC and state investigators determined it was the fourth ham product-related listeria illness between July 8, 2017, and Aug. 11, 2018. The FSIS investigators had taken samples from Johnston County Hams’ facility in 2016 and the early part of this year.
“Whole genome sequencing results showed that Listeria monocytogenes identified in deli ham both years was closely related genetically to Listeria monocytogenes from ill people,” the notice states.
Each product covered in the recall comes in 7 to 8-pound plastic-wrapped packages:
▪ Johnston County Hams, Inc. Country Style Fully Cooked Boneless Deli Ham.
▪ Ole Fashioned Sugar Cured The Old Dominion Brand Hams Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham with sell by dates from 4/10/18 to 9/27/2019.
▪ Padow’s Hams & Deli, Inc., Fully Cooked Country Ham Boneless Glazed with Brown Sugar
▪ Premium Fully-Cooked Country Ham with Less Salt and sell by dates from April 10, 2018 to Sept. 27, 2019.
▪ Goodnight Brothers Country Ham Boneless Fully Cooked.
Anyone with these products should throw them away or return them for a full refund. Anyone with questions can call Johnston County Hams plant manager Rufus Brown at 919-934-8054.