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Pilgrim’s Pride Expands Chicken Recall

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GREELEY, Colo. (AP) - A voluntary recall of thousands of pounds of ready-to-eat chicken was expanded over concerns that the meat could be contaminated with bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Colorado-based Pilgrim’s Pride said Tuesday the recall now includes about 7,000 pounds of Pilgrim’s Pride Brand Fully Cooked Chicken Breast Nuggets that were shipped to 57 Dollar General Market stores in West Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Dollar General spokeswoman Tawn Earnest said smaller stores in the chain aren’t affected.

The recall began last week over fears that more than five tons of ready-to-eat chicken was potentially tainted by Listeria monocytogenes.

The Center for Disease Control classifies listeriosis as a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.

Pilgrim’s Pride spokesman Gary Rhodes said Wednesday that he wasn’t aware of any illnesses related to the recall.

The newly recalled product was sold in two-pound bags and carries the best-by date of June 2, 2012, and UPC number 77013 16224. It was produced in the Pilgrim’s plant in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. Pilgrim’s officials say the company is working closely with Dollar General to locate all of the recalled product.

“Food safety is our top priority and we take product recalls very seriously,” said Kendra Waldbusser, senior vice president of food safety and quality assurance for Pilgrim’s.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall of two of the company’s products Thursday.

The first was nearly 400 pounds of Fully-Cooked Grilled Chicken Breast Fillets with Rib Meat made at Pilgrim’s plant in Waco, Texas, and distributed through Columbus, Ohio.

Also recalled was nearly 11,000 pounds of Sweet Georgia Brand Fully-Cooked Breaded White Chicken Nuggets Shaped Patties produced at Pilgrim’s plant in Mt. Pleasant and sent to distribution centers in New Jersey and Texas.

The problem was discovered during on-site internal testing at each plant.

Pilgrim’s employs about 42,000 people and operates chicken processing plants and prepared-foods facilities in 12 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Consumers can contact Pilgrim’s at 1-800-321-1470.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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