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Tons Of Tainted Hot Dogs Recalled

A Cincinnati meat processor is recalling 140,000 pounds of frankfurters and hot dogs that may be contaminated with a germ that can cause a potentially fatal disease, the Agriculture Department's food safety service said Thursday.

John Morrell & Co. voluntarily reported the danger of Listeria monocytogenes, the service said in a statement. It produced the food on March 5 and distributed it to retail outlets nationwide.

Listeria can cause listeriosis, a rare but potentially fatal disease. Healthy people are rarely susceptible, but people with weak immune systems are particularly at risk. Especially susceptible are infants, the frail, the elderly, chronic disease sufferers, HIV-infected people and patients undergoing chemotherapy.

"Because of the potential for foodborne illness, we want consumers to be aware of the recall," said Linda Swacina, the service's assistant administrator. Shoppers should return the products to the point of purchase.

The meat industry wants to rewrite rules from the former Clinton administration that would require makers of hot dogs, cold cuts and other ready-to-eat meat products test plant equipment for Listeria monocytogenes, saying they are too restrictive.

The Bush administration is undertaking an analysis of the risk and has delayed enforcement of the Clinton-era rules.

The food service statement did not explain where and how the John Morell company discovered the danger.

The following products bear "P-2564" inside the USDA seal of inspection:

  • 12-ounce packages of "FMV Serve 'N save HOT DOGS MADE WITH CHICKEN AND PORK" marked with a date code of "Sell by May 14."
  • 12-ounce packages of "Rath Black Hawk HOTDOGS MADE WITH CHICKEN AND PORK" marked with a date code of "Sell by May 14."
  • 12-ounce packages of "PEYTON'S FRANKS MADE WITH CHICKEN AND PORK" marked with a date code of "Sell by Jun 13."
  • 12-ounce packages of "Rodeo Franks MADE WITH CHICKEN AND PORK" marked with a date code. of "Sell by Jun 13."
  • 16-Ounce packages of "JOHN MORELL BUN LENGTH Franks MADE WITH CHICKEN AND PORK" marked with a date code of "Sell by May 14." This product was also sold to military commissaries.

    The following products bear "EST. 296" inside the USDA seal of inspection:

  • 16-ounce packages of "TOPS Franks BUN LENGTH" marked with a date code of "Sell by May 14."
  • 16-ounce packages of "Wilson Farms BUN LENGTH Franks" marked with a date code of "Sell by May 14."
  • 10-pound boxes, each containing two 5-pound unmarked plastic bags, of "JOHN MORELL FOODSERVICE BLACK LABEL GOURMET BEEF FRANKS" marked with a date code of "064."
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