Veron recalls sausage, hogs head cheese

Wade McIntyre

Veron Foods, LLC planned to have completed a recall of approximately 500,000 pounds of its “ready to eat” sausage and hogs head cheese products by Monday afternoon due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, a spokesman with the firm said.

 The state Agriculture and Forestry Office of Animal Health and Food Safety announced the Veron products recall Aug. 14.

 Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said in a release the packages being recalled included all sizes of the following products:

• Veron Hot Smoked Sausage

• Veron Mild Smoked Sausage

• Martin Hot Smoked Sausage

• Veron Andouille Sausage

• Martin Andouille Sausage

• Veron Hog Head Cheese

The problem was discovered during a food borne illness investigation that led to a product sample testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes, according to Strain.

Veron Foods’ Neal Sheets said a suspected package of hogs head cheese led to concerns about possible cross contamination of other meat products made in the plant.

Cooking kills the suspected pathogen, but some of the company’s sausage is marketed as ready to eat, increasing safety concerns.

“We are working to make sure the plant is clean, safe, certified and ready to go,” Sheets said Monday. About 75 percent of the affected product was off store shelves Sunday, Sheets said.

“I don’t think you would be able to find it anywhere after today,” he said.

The Class I recall is represents a health hazard situation where reasonable probability exists that use of the suspected product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.

Symptoms of listeriosis include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea.

The disease is uncommon, but potentially fatal, according to the release. Most susceptible are those with a weakened immune system such as the elderly, infants, and persons with HIV or undergoing therapy.

The recalled products bear the establishment number “LA 22” inside the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry inspection stamp. Packages marked with date codes of 010110 through 111310  were distributed to retail establishments and institutions and establishments in Louisiana, according to the release.

Consumers with questions about the recall are asked to call Veron Food LLC at 225-622-3262.

  The USDA recommends that people at risk for Listeriosis wash their hands with warm, soapy water before and after handling raw meat and poultry for at least 20 seconds. The should wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water. Immediately clean spills.

  They should also keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.

  Further information on Listeriosis may be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website.