The USDA Just Issued an Urgent Warning for 130,860 Pounds of Chicken

The agricultural authority is cautioning anyone who purchased the food not to consume it.

Finding something to cook for dinner after a long day can be a hassle for even the most avid meal preppers. Unfortunately, that sometimes arduous task just got a whole lot more frustrating, now that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a public health alert for approximately 130,860 pounds of chicken due to serious health concerns. Read on to find out if you should be tossing this product from your kitchen now.

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The chicken may be contaminated with dangerous bacteria.

sliced chicken on a white plate
Shutterstock / verchik

On May 24, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert for approximately 130,680 pounds of frozen fully-cooked, diced chicken due to potential listeria monocytogenes contamination. "The problem was discovered during routine FSIS inspection activities when inspection personnel observed products requiring recooking due to possible [listeria monocytogenes] contamination had been repackaged without being recooked," the FSIS notice states.

The products subject to the public health alert include 4-lb. bags labeled "Fully Cooked Chicken Meat ¾ Diced White" and "Fully Cooked Chicken Meat Dark/White ¾ Diced."

The white meat chicken subject to the alert can be identified by establishment number P-18237, pack dates of 1/25/2021 and 1/26/2021, and code 13530. The dark/white meat chicken subject to the alert bears establishment number P-45638, pack dates of March 23 and 24 (written as "24/Mar/2021" and "23/Mar/2021"), and code 16598.

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The products were distributed as part of a COVID-related food program.

woman taking crate of dairy and produce from delivery person
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The affected chicken, initially distributed by Houston-based Big Daddy Foods, Inc., was subsequently provided to Florida food banks as part of the USDA's Farmers to Families Food Box program, a now-defunct service that provided food to U.S. individuals in need of food assistance.

The chicken subject to the public health alert was distributed as part of this program between Feb. 25, 2021 and March 1, 2021, as well as between March 29, 2021 and April 8, 2021.

Consuming the affected chicken can cause serious illness.

woman feeling sick at home. Lying in bed, drinking tea and medicine. Daytime.
iStock

Listeria can lead to listeriosis, an infection that can cause miscarriage or stillbirths in pregnant individuals, as well as causing potentially fatal infections in newborn babies. It has a higher likelihood of being fatal for the elderly or immunocompromised, as well.

Symptoms of listeriosis can include "fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms," the FSIS reports.

The service recommends that anyone in a high-risk group who has flu-like symptoms within two months after the consumption of a food that may have been contaminated with listeria contact their doctor and provide information about their consumption of the potentially affected food.

If you have the chicken at home, throw it away now.

person throwing away cooked chicken nuggets
Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

If you have the affected chicken at home, the FSIS cautions against consuming it. Instead, the products should be disposed of immediately. If you're worried that you may have become ill due to the consumption of the chicken subject to the public health alert, contact a healthcare provider immediately.

To limit potential listeria contamination—which can occur even in foods that are properly refrigerated—in other foods, the FSIS recommends warming all ready-to-eat meals until they are "steaming hot."

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