Officials are working to trace and recall a few ready-to-eat, refrigerated products that are potentially contaminated with the listeria bacteria, which can cause a life-threatening infection, according to a Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene news release.
The products are under Reser's Fine Foods and Garden-Fresh Foods brand names and are sold in supermarkets and delis. However, they can be sold under a different label at stores or served in restaurants, the release states. A list of affected products can be found at www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Recalls/default.htm.
The refrigerated products were distributed in Canada and the U.S., including Maryland.
So far, there haven't been any listeria illnesses linked to the recalled products. The bacteria can cause the life-threatening infection listeriosis, which primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults and persons with weakened immune systems, according to the release.
Those with listeriosis typically have a fever and muscle aches and can have meningitis or a bloodstream infection. Symptoms, such as diarrhea, typically develop within several days of eating the food, though listeriosis can sometimes occur up to two months afterwards, the release states.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and DHMH will continue monitoring the situation.
The bacteria listeria is found in dust, soil, water, sewage and the environment; it can multiply in contaminated refrigerated food, according to the release.
DHMH and local state health departments are working with the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture to get potentially contaminated products off the marketplace.
Consumers who bought the product can take it back to the store for a refund. If not, they should discard it in a manner where no one else can consume the food, according to the release.