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Listeria recall for ham and pepperoni balloons to 2.3 million pounds

A recall of fully cooked ham and pepperoni products shipped to retail stores nationwide has ballooned to more than 2.3 million pounds that may be contaminated with listeria — 10 times more than first announced.

Alexander & Hornung, a St. Clair Shores, Michigan-based business unit of Perdue Premium Meat Co., initially recalled 230,391 pounds after product sampling detected the bacteria that can cause serious infection, according to a notice posted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS.

But that recall initiated on December 5 had expanded dramatically to cover 2,320,774 pounds by December 11, FSIS said. 

The recall now includes 27 products bearing the establishment number "EST. M10125" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The numerous meat brands being recalled include Alexander & Hornung, Amish Valley, Big Y, Butcher Boy, Five Star, Food Club, Garrett Valley Farms, Lancaster, Niman Ranch, Open Nature and Wellshire Wood. See the full list here. Photos of the Alexander & Hornung branded fully cooked products and private label can be found here.

Usually caused by eating contaminated food, listeria is a serious infection that hits about 1,600 Americans each year, killing around 260 people annually. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults ages 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. The infection is treated with antibiotics. 

There have not been any confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consuming the products, the company said, adding that they should be discarded or returned to the pace of purchase.

The recalled products were produced on various dates and FSIS is concerned some may still be in people's refrigerators or freezers.

Consumers with questions can call (866) 866-3703 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.

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