HOUSTON - Great American Marketing Co. is recalling ready-to-eat salads, wraps and sandwiches sold throughout the Greater Houston area that may be contaminated with listeria.
Federal food inspectors confirmed the presence of listeria monocytogenes during a routine testing of a food processing center at the Houston facility.
Listeriosis is “a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns,” a USDA news release about the recall said.
The more than 7,000 recalled salads and wraps and nearly 30,000 recalled sandwiches were for sale at 450 Corner Market and Circle K stores across Texas with expiration dates through April 20.
Store managers have been instructed to throw away the recalled products. Customers can return the products for a full refund. A full list of the recalled items can be found below.
Many remember the deadly, nationwide listeria outbreak at Blue Bell facilities several years ago. Unlike that case, no illnesses have been reported as a result of the contamination at the Great American Marketing facility.
“It’s a strictly voluntary recall on our part to ensure that public safety is maintained,” said Bill Welch, the company’s vice president, said. “We shut our operations for these items down and we’re not going to restart production until we’re certain that any listeria organism is eliminated from the processing rooms.”
The recalled “ready-to-eat,” or RTE products include: CAESAR SALAD, CHEF SALAD, CLUB WRAP, CHICKEN CAESAR WRAP, DELI CUT HAM AND AMERICAN, DELI CUT TURKEY, CHICKEN SALAD, JALAPENO PIMENTO CHEESE, ITALIAN 6” SUB, TURKEY PEPPER JAKC 6”SUB, TURKEY AND SWISS, HAM AND CHEDDAR SANDWICH; all sold in Valero Corner Stores/Circle K Stores under Corner Store Market Label in different packaging shapes and sizes with the following sell-by dates: 04/08/19, 04/09/19, 04/11/19, 04/13/19, 04/14/19, 4/15/19, 4/16/19, 4/18/19, 4/20/19.
Welch said it will take at least two weeks for the company and food inspectors to identify and eliminate the source of the problem before production of the recalled items can move forward again.
The pause in production will probably cost the company a couple hundred thousand dollars, he said.
When asked if listeria was found in the product itself, a USDA spokesperson, Maria Machuca, responded:
"There was no presence of L. monocytogenes found in the product, but it was found on food contact surface areas in the processing room. FSIS considers product that come into direct contact with a food contact surface that test positive for L. monocytogenes as adulterated. Therefore, the firm agreed to halt production and proceed with a product recall because of the existing risk."
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