Johnson County Hams of Smithfield, located in North Carolina has recalled its entire ready-to-eat ham products amounting to nearly 89,000 pounds that was made between April 2017 and October 2018 according to a recent press release by Dept. of Agriculture in the United States. This was done after recent reports of one death and three illnesses due to listeria contamination that was contracted from the ham. An investigation by the consortium of government agencies consisting of Center for Disease Control and Prevention, USDA Food and Safety Inspection Service and state officials identified links between these illnesses and death, and presence of Listeria monocytogenes in deli ham produced by the company.
The firm delivers ready-to-eat deli loaf hams to distributors in North and South Carolina followed by New York, Maryland and Virginia. The ongoing investigation has found several listeria cases between July 2017 and August 2018. According to CDC data, around 1,600 people within the US get listeriosis every year while around 260 die of the infection as it is likely to affect people with the low immune system. The ham products carried five different labels like Johnson County Hams Inc, County Style Fully Cooked Boneless Deli Ham, Goodnight Brothers Country Ham and Padow’s Hams and Deli Inc, with specific sell by dates between April 2018 and Sept 2019.
Listeriosis is an illness that is usually contracted by eating contaminated meat products containing bacterium Listeria monocytogenes and is usually prevalent in ham. The report has urged USDA to issue a directive stating that people who have purchased hams and stocked them at home should either throw it away or return it to the store they were purchased from to avoid any form of food contamination. The infection can prove fatal for pregnant women and their unborn and even senior citizens above 70 that have a weak immune system.