In its third recall over a month, Milwaukee-based Garden Fresh Foods recalled more than 50 tons or 100,000 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken and ham products due to possible listeria contamination. According to a news report in the Journal Sentinel, the newly recalled products, which were distributed nationwide, including in California, consist of prepared chicken and ham sold under various brand names including Garden-Fresh, Archer Farms, D’Amico and Sons and Grandpa’s. The foods included in this recall were produced between September 6 and October 10.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service detected the bacteria in additional products in samples taken from a food safety assessment at Garden Fresh after the initial recall. The recall is categorized as high-risk meaning that consumption can cause serious illness or death. This recall expands on two others from September and October, which affected nearly 26,000 pounds of similar foods.

The Dangers of Listeria Contamination

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), listeria is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning, which primarily affects pregnant women, the elderly and individuals with weak or compromised immune systems. Listeria can pass from a pregnant woman to her fetus or newborn, causing miscarriage and stillbirth. In a newborn, it can cause bloodstream infections, meningitis or even death. The risk for pregnant women from listeria is 10 times higher than for the general population.

How to Prevent Listeria Poisoning

There are several steps vulnerable groups, particularly pregnant women, can take to minimize their risk:

  • Identify risky foods such as soft cheeses and stay away from them. Do not drink raw, unpasteurized milk or eat cheeses made from it.
  • Heat deli meats and hot dogs until steaming hot before eating.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours in shallow covered containers and use within three to four days.
  • Prevent cross-contamination in the refrigerator or other places in the kitchen.
  • Use a thermometer to make sure that your refrigerator is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and your freezer is zero degrees or lower.

If you have been infected, please see a doctor right away. Isolate the suspect food so it can be preserved for testing at a lab for pathogens. Also, report your illness to the local health agency and contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who will help protect your legal rights.