Today’s news:

Jamaica-based meat distributor issues recall

A Jamaica-based meat company voluntarily ordered a recall Sunday on nearly a quarter of a million pounds of its products after the U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service discovered the food had traces of a potentially lethal bacteria.

Gourmet Boutique LLC, located at 144-02 158th St., recalled 35 of its fresh and frozen meat and poultry products that may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes from food stores across the country. Although Food Safety said there were no reported illnesses related to the contaminated meat, Gourmet assured customers that it had taken swift action.

"We have established corrective action procedures and instituted plant environmental changes to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future," the company told consumers through an automated phone message.

Representatives from Gourmet did not return calls for comment.

The bacteria, which can lead to the disease listeriosis, was discovered through microbiological sampling by Food Safety and the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Department, the Agriculture Department said. Listeriosis is normally nor harmful to healthy people, but can be serious or fatal to infants, the elderly and others with weak immune systems.

Symptoms include high fever and severe headaches, and the disease can also cause miscarriages, stillbirths and fatal infections, according to the Agriculture Department.

Recalled Gourmet Boutique food include ts three- and six-pound containers of Gourmet Boutique Home Chicken Salad, Archer Farms Frozen Pulled Pork Burrito and Gourmet Boutique Wrapanini Meatball Parmigiana. The fresh products were produced between April 19 and April 24 while the frozen products were produced between Oct. 23, 2007, and April 23, 2008, according to Food Safety and Safety Inspection Service.

For more information on the recalled products log on to www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Recall_013-2008_Release.pdf or call 347-887-0083.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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