WHEELING, Ill. -- Orval Kent Food Co. here has recalled five million pounds of potato salad because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.
The voluntary recall, begun Aug. 4, involves all potato salads marked with expiration dates prior to Sept. 15 and bearing the identifying code "W7." The suspect products include only potato salads produced at the company's facility here.
Contamination was discovered in a random sample of product tested in a customer's quality control lab, J. William Petty, Orval Kent president, told SN.
Petty said the company is working with the Food and Drug Administration and food-safety experts to complete the recall "as successfully and swiftly as possible to protect consumers." This is the first such incident experienced by Orval Kent in 45 years in business.
The products had been distributed to retail stores and food-service establishments within the Central and Eastern time zones, excluding Texas, and in Canada and Puerto Rico. Super Kmart stores nationwide received the products.
In addition to Orval Kent brand labels, products under the private labels of Pathmark, Demoulas, Giant of Landover, Md., Acme Markets and Marsh Supermarkets were also involved in the recall.
Listeria can cause serious infections in children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems, and can cause stillbirths and miscarriages among women. Short-term symptoms can include high fever, headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.