CDC Says Death Toll From Listeria-Tainted Meat Rises To 12
CHICAGO (AP) -- The death toll from tainted meat linked to a Sara Lee Corp. subsidiary's processing plant has risen to 12.
The outbreak of a rare strain of listeria bacteria has sickened at least 79 people in 17 states since August, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. In addition to the 12 deaths, three women have had miscarriages, the agency said.
Chicago-based Sara Lee recalled hot dogs and deli meats produced at its Bil Mar plant in Zeeland, Michigan, after the CDC found listeria contamination in unopened packages of the products.
The recalled products bear identification numbers of EST P-261, for poultry, or 6911, for other meats. Affected brand names include Ball Park, Bil Mar, Sara Lee Deli Meat and Sara Lee Home Roast.
The states reporting listeria infections are Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and West Virginia.
About 1,800 cases of food poisoning caused by listeria are reported annually in the United States. Healthy people usually can fight off the bacterium with no more than flu-like symptoms.
The nation's largest listeria outbreak occurred in California in 1985, according to the CDC. Forty-eight people died and 66 miscarriages were linked to contaminated cheese.