There have been two U.S. recalls of cooked ham products in the last couple of weeks. The reason in both cases was the finding of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. This bacteria causes Listeriosis - a disease which can be fatal for some people.
Pregnant women need to be particularly careful they don't catch this Listeriosis as it can cause miscarriages and birth defects. Other people with weakened immune systems are also at serious risk. If you are perfectly healthy, you may be lucky and have almost no symptoms. Effects vary considerably.
The first of these recent recalls took place late June (see the Alerts column) and was for Serrano ham products, imported from Spain. The company involved was Specialities Agro Alimentation, of Millington, N.J.
The brands involved are: "CAROLINA PRIDE Smoked Diced Ham," "CAROLINA PRIDE Diced Ham" and "HARDEE's Smoked Diced Ham." If you think you may have eaten these products or are concerned, check the USDA news release for more detailed information - http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_046_2011_Release/index.asp.
Are these two recalls linked? I have not found any information yet on whether the ham in the second recall was also imported. If I find out more, I'll update this post. In the meantime, check your refrigerator. And remember that L.monocytogenes survives very well in the frig.
By the way, I wouldn't be at all surprised if we had some additional recalls of ready-to-eat products such as salads and sandwiches in the next few days.
To your good health,