October 14, 2011

Department of Health orders destruction of contaminated vacuum packed chicken and ground pork products at Reis Meat Processing in Jackson, Mo.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Tests conducted at the State Public Health Laboratory, which were finalized today, on vacuum packed chicken and ground pork products from Reis Meat Processing in Jackson, Missouri revealed abnormally high bacteria levels, prompting the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) today to order the destruction of those products. The other products that were tested, including varieties and cuts of beef, sausage, bacon and turkey, did not demonstrate these high bacteria levels.

The contaminated vacuum packed chicken and ground pork were being offered for sale to the public by Reis Meat Processing, which also operates as a custom meat processor under the jurisdiction of the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA). The MDA had previously ordered that aspect of the business to close after an inspection revealed unsanitary processing conditions. After a re-inspection, MDA allowed the custom processing area of the business to resume, while the retail portion remained closed pending DHSS testing of those meat products.

DHSS and the Cape Girardeau County Health Department are also working with Reis Meat Processing to ensure that the company adopts appropriate food safety processes in its handling of all the products it offers for sale to the public.

Consumers who purchased vacuum-packaged chicken breasts or ground pork from Reis Meat Processing should discard the product. Consumers who have purchased or otherwise come into possession of other meat products from Reis should observe ordinary caution in the handling of meat, including ensuring that it is thoroughly cooked before being consumed.

Department officials advise that if consumers ever have food products they're unsure about, no matter where the products are from, they should exercise caution and throw the concerning products away.