Ruck’s Meat Processing of Belle Plaine has pulled multiple products off of its shelves following an inspection by way of a routine sampling that showed that one product may have been contaminated with Listeria, a pathogenic bacteria that can cause severe illness, according to a report by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
On Oct. 26, Rex’s Smoked Breakfast Sausage, a product processed by Ruck’s, was packaged and tested for the bacteria. Shortly thereafter, it tested positive. Ruck’s owner Cliff Martens added that the sausage was the last product to have been packaged that day and that none of it was sold to customers as the stock was held from shelves pending test results, Martens said.
Despite there being no evidence of contamination, Ruck’s is also pulling its Ring Bologna, which it sold to Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store, Tollefson Family Pork Products’ smoked Polish Sausage and smoked breakfast sausage. Martens stated that none of these products came in contact with Rex’s Smoked Breakfast Sausage or stations in which it was processed. Around 70 pounds of those products were sold to customers.
The Listeria bacteria is commonly found in soil, water and various animal products. Martens stated that the bacteria might have contaminated the breakfast sausage due to an employee not properly washing her or his hands. Martens added that Ruck’s will be “redoubling” their sanitation processes, namely by keeping a closer eye on employees’ sanitation practices in the store. Martens also stated that the cooler that housed the contaminated sample was emptied, cleaned and bleached, and that the entire processing operation undergoes a similar treatment on a daily basis.
“We’ve never had a recall before. We’ve never had a problem,” Martens said. “We’re doing everything we can so that this isn’t a problem ever again.”
Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially serious disease marked by fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis, but it can sometimes cause fatal infections in infants, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis can also lead to miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.
The MDA has advised anyone who purchased the mentioned products to throw them away.