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021117 Poultry Plants Reopen After Shutdowns

November 14, 2002

Two poultry plants that closed after tests found potentially deadly bacteria leading in one case to the largest meat recall in U.S. history have been given a clean bill of health, officials said.

The J.L. Foods plant in Camden, N.J., reopened and the Wampler Foods plant in Franconia, Pa., was scheduled to resume operations, company officials said.

Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride, owner of Wampler Foods, announced a nationwide recall of more than 27 million pounds of meat last month after tests found listeria in floor drains at the plant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blamed the plant for an outbreak of listeriosis that killed seven people and sickened dozens this year.

Then, earlier this month, the CDC said a genetically indistinguishable batch of listeria also turned up in a sample of deli meat produced at J.L. Foods in Camden. The company announced a recall of 200,000 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken and turkey.

Steven Cohen, spokesman for the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said federal inspectors are meeting with the companies to review their listeria-monitoring plans. Both plants have promised to do extensive testing to make sure they are free of listeria.

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