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Death, Illness Trigger 44-Ton Ham Recall

An epidemiologic investigation by the FSIS established a link back to the manufacturer.


Smithfield, North Carolina-based Johnston County Hams is recalling approximately 89,096 pounds of ready-to-eat ham products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The various deli-loaf ham items were produced between April 3, 2017 to October 2, 2018 in packaged weights of seven to eight pounds. 

The Food Safety and Inspection Service was informed of the potential contamination on September 27 after a person ill with listeriosis reported consuming a ham product produced at Johnston County Hams. Working in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state public health and agriculture partners, FSIS established the link to the manufacturer.

The epidemiologic investigation identified a total of four listeriosis confirmed illnesses, including one death. FSIS collected two deli ham product samples from the Johnston County Hams, Inc. facility in 2016 and in early 2018. Whole genome sequencing results showed that Listeria monocytogenes identified in deli ham both years was closely related genetically to Listeria monocytogenes from ill people.

The FSIS is continuing to work with federal and state public health partners to determine if there are additional illnesses linked to these products and will provide updated information should it become available.

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