US poultry company Pilgrim’s Pride has said that the recall of its Wampler Foods deli products should not adversely affect its finances.

The company expanded its voluntary recall on Sunday to include 27.4m pounds of ready-to-eat deli products as a precautionary measure after a strain of listeria bacteria was discovered at its Franconia plant. Wampler Foods products have not, however, been linked to the outbreak of listeria in the northeastern US that sickened 120 people and caused 20 deaths.

Pilgrim’s Pride has said that the products included in the recall account for 7% of the company’s annual turkey production and less than 1% of its total annual poultry production, reported Dow Jones News.

Shares in the poultry company closed down on Monday at a 52-week low of US$5.28.

Meanwhile, some consumer groups in the US are blaming the Bush administration for the recent spate of meat recalls.

US companies ConAgra Foods, Smithfield Foods and Cargill have all withdrawn meat from the market in the past few months due to food safety concerns.

Some US consumer groups have said that the recent Pilgrim’s Pride recall could have been prevented if the Bush administration had applied stricter food safety rules.

“There are proposed listeria regulations dating back to the Clinton administration that may have prevented this, but the Bush administration is sitting on it,” Karen Mitchell, executive director of Safe Tables Our Priority, was reported as saying by Reuters.

Rules written by the Clinton administration were proposed last year by the United States Department of Agriculture to ensure that manufacturers of ready-to-eat meats routinely test for the presence of the listeria bacteria in their plants. The Bush administration is yet to act on the proposals, reported Reuters.