Cargill Turkey Products has voluntarily initiated a recall of 16.7 million pounds of ready-to-eat poultry products produced at its Waco, Texas, facility to safeguard against possible infection by Listeria monocytogenes.

The products were produced from May 1 to December 11. They were distributed nationwide and to two other countries through grocery stores, restaurants and institutions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are studying whether some products from the Waco facility might contain Listeria monocytogenes associated with 25 cases of listeriosis, most of which have occurred since July 2000.

``Even though CDC and FSIS's study isn't completed, the preliminary results convinced us that it was in the best interest of consumers and our customers to voluntarily initiate this recall,'' said John O'Carroll, president of Cargill Turkey Products. ``If consumers have any of the recalled products, they should not eat them, but return them to the point of purchase.''

Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease. Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, and nausea. It can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with weak immune systems -- infants, the frail or elderly, and persons with chronic disease, with HIV infection, or taking chemotherapy. Consumers who feel they have symptoms of listeriosis should contact their physicians.

Some of the products were sold at retail grocery stores in packages that can be identified by consumers. The products carry the establishment number P-635 and include:

  • SLICED PRODUCTS
  • Owen's Hickory Smoked Pre-Sliced Turkey Breast, fresh
  • Plantation Fiesta Pre-Sliced Turkey Breast, fresh

Mesquite Smoked Pre-Sliced Turkey Breast, fresh and frozen

Pre-Sliced Smoke banquet-style Turkey Breast, fresh and frozen

Black Forest Turkey Ham, fresh

Pre-Sliced Turkey Pastrami, fresh and frozen

Pre-Sliced Star Turkey Breast

  • Riverside Pre-Sliced Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast, fresh and frozen Pre-Sliced Oven Prepared Turkey Breast, frozen
  • Honeysuckle White Pre-Sliced Oven Prepared Turkey, fresh and frozen
  • UNSLICED PRODUCTS
  • Dine Rite Picnic Dark Turkey, fresh and frozen
  • Old South Turkey Ham, fresh
  • Plantation Cajun Fried Turkey, frozen
  • Honeysuckle White Cajun-Style Fried Whole Turkey, frozen
  • Boar's Head Our Premium Low Salt Turkey, frozen

Golden Catering Skin-on Turkey Breast, fresh

Carmel Colored Our Premium Turkey Breast, fresh

Our Premium Low Salt Skinless Turkey Breast, fresh

Smoked Turkey Breast, fresh

Oil Browned Chicken Breast, fresh

Oven Prepared Skinless Turkey Breast, fresh

Smoked Chicken Breast, fresh

The Waco facility sold other products in bulk and that were sliced at delicatessens and restaurants and would not be readily identifiable by consumers. Cargill Turkey Products has contacted establishments who purchased those products, which are being removed and returned. Consumers who are concerned whether they may have eaten any of the products should contact their local grocery stores or restaurants.

Consumers with questions about the recall may call Cargill Turkey Products at 888-621-2717 or visit the website http://www.plantation-foods.com . Cargill Turkey Products is based in Springdale, Ark., and is part of Minneapolis-based Cargill, Incorporated.