Gourmet Boutique, a New York food company, is voluntarily recalling 143 tons of meat and poultry. Federal food safety inspectors and Florida agriculture officials discovered that some of it is contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium.

Some of the products are chicken salads and sandwiches, sold under the name Gourmet Boutique. Others are frozen wraps and burritos which are sold as “Jan’s” or “Archer Farms”. The exact products are listed on the USDA webpage about this recall, dated May 3, 2008.

So far there are no reports of illness associated with this recall.

What is Listeriosis?

It is a bacterial infection caused by the monocytogenes bacterium. In 2004 and 2005, it occurred only 2.5 to 3 times for each million of U.S. population. Of those cases, about 70% occurred in people with a compromised immune system, for whatever reason – chemotherapy patients, elderly, or suffering from HIV, AIDS, a blood cancer, malnutrition, or a hereditary condition. The other 30% occurred in pregnant women.

The Listeria monocytogenes bacterium exists throughout our environment and typically enters the body through being ingested. It has been found in seafood, meat, dairy products (despite pasteurization), and vegetables.

Symptoms of Listeriosis

There are four separate ways Listeria can develop in the body, with four sets of symptoms. When ingested in contaminated food, symptoms may not occur for one or two days afterwards, and would typically be:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Aching muscles
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Stiffness in the neck area
  • Confusion
  • Impaired balance
  • Convulsions

Treatment is done with antibiotics, usually ampicillin and perhaps gentamicin. Gourmet Boutique has made a recorded phone message which states it has made some environmental changes at its food plants to prevent this problem arising again.

If you think you may have eaten any contaminated products, please see your doctor immediately. Please also contact us if you would like to know more about your legal rights and options.