In one of the largest recalls in recent memory, numerous chicken products from Aldi, Target, Trader Joe's, Walmart, and Nutrisystem (to name a few) have been called back after concerns they've been contaminated with listeria.
Tip Top Poultry released a lengthy statement on the recall, which was actually an expansion on a previous recall issued on September 28th.
Today, after extensive testing and in conjunction with the USDA, and out of an abundance of caution for consumers’ health and wellness, we are doing a voluntary recall of all cooked, hot deboned fowl meat produced during the time frame from January 22, 2019 to September 24, 2019. Only products from this single line at our ready-to-eat cooking facility in Rockmart, Georgia are affected. Tip Top Poultry is shutting down this fowl cooking line until it identifies the source of any potential contamination and completely eliminates it.
You have placed tremendous trust in us as a partner. And so, we feel it is our duty to share with you all of the information we currently have as it pertains to the recall and our food safety efforts.
In early summer, we received word from the Centers for Disease Control that they were investigating an outbreak of listeriosis. As part of their investigation, the United States of Agriculture (USDA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) were testing consumer products to determine if they could find a source for the illnesses.
During this testing, on August 17, Tip Top was notified of a test of its product, which was positive for listeria monocytogenes. There were 10 samples pulled from a food court in Manitoba and only one of the 10 samples had listeria mono in it. We were shocked, saddened and moved to action when we learned this. Immediately we retained a third-party sanitation firm to review our sanitation program, create a thorough intensified cleaning plan for our ready-to-eat cooking facility in Rockmart, Georgia plant and oversee that intensified cleaning event. We subsequently shut down the cooking line for this cleaning process to address any potential sources in the facility. The cleaning was completed on September 2.
On September 25, after celebrating that day the 30-year anniversary of the plant being in operation, we were notified that another case of product tested positive for listeria monocytogenes at a Canadian lab. While reviewing the situation, including making a visit to the location of the tested product, and discussing the response with Canadian and US authorities, we were notified of three additional tests which came back positive from additional Canadian tests.
As a family business, we take food safety seriously because it is so critical to our own families and friends’ health and safety in addition to anyone who consumes our products. Therefore, we made a series of serious decisions. First, we placed all of the products from that cooking line on hold so that no more risk would be introduced into the marketplace. In addition, we conducted a voluntary recall of all items from that production line since January 21 even though only a few days tested positive.
Second, we retained an independent expert on operational food safety and listeria programs to review what we do and help us identify any root sources and address them. Third, we shut down that cooking line until we have any sources identified and eliminated. Fourth, our team began to investigate the line for any potential root causes. We will scour the line to look for any potential root causes. We will not pack any products from this line until we have conducted a full investigation, identified any root causes, and fully remediated them to ensure the ongoing safe food production.
Over the years, we implemented a thorough HACCP program, welcomed hundreds of external auditors, and went on to achieve the Global Food Safety Initiative’s BRC rating of AA, the highest rating that a facility can achieve on the scale. We constantly strive for continuous improvement, accepting recommendations and changing our behaviors whenever we found a better way. Our people in Rockmart are like family to us and they work tirelessly to achieve the high levels of food safety that are required to keep the North American food supply chain safe for consumers.
While we know that no system is perfect, our extensive listeria monitoring and product sampling program was established to prevent any potential risks from making it to the supply chain. We randomly test the environment for listeria throughout the plant so that we can address and resolve any possible issues. In addition, we pull fifteen product samples from each cooking line every day and composite test those samples for listeria. Before any product can ship from our control, all the product tests from that line must come back negative.
In closing, the decisions we made to recall such a broad range of dates and shut down the line will be very costly to us, but we live by the motto a friend once told me – “People over Profit.” It’s a good motto and one that reminds me of the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As difficult as these decisions are, we feel like they are the right ones to make. We hope that we will be able to retain the trust of our customers that cooked chicken they purchase from us will be the safest available because we take food safety seriously and act with integrity at Tip Top Poultry.
With Sincere Gratitude,
Timeline of Events
The company also released a timeline of events that led to the recall.
- August 17 - notified by Canadian lab of positive listeria mono results in 1 case from 1/21 product day-code10 samples were pulled from a food court, 9 of the 10 tested negative, only 1 tested positive for listeria mono
- August 18 – Canadian recall of 1/21 product
- August 21 – US recall of 1/21 product
- August 22 – Retained third-party sanitation firm Packers to review sanitation program, create thorough intensified cleaning of plant and oversee intensified cleaning event.
- August 30 – shut down plant August 30 – September 2 for intensified cleaning
- September 25 - notified by Canadian lab of positive listeria mono results in 1 case from 7/29 product day-code85 samples were pulled from a truck entering Canada. 84 tested negative, only 1 tested positive for listeria mono
- September 26 – Tip Top representative traveled to British Columbia to inspect product and warehouse conditions
- September 27 – Retained Expert Third-Party consultant
- September 27 – Canadian recall of 7/29 product
- September 27 – notified by Canadian lab of positive listeria mono results in 3 cases from at least two of the following product day-codes: 7/8, 8/7, 8/9 and 8/16
- September 28 – Voluntary recall of all cooked meat items with item codes in the ranges 10000-19999 and 70000-79999 from 1/22 through 9/24
Here is a detailed list of almost all the products recalled. For a full list, you can look at this document from the Food Safety and Inspection Service website
Knott’s Chicken Salad Spread (14 oz) with Est. P-7958 and Best By dates 10/4/2019, 10/11/2019, 10/20/2019, 10/25/2019, 11/8/2019
Knott’s Chicken Salad Spread (12 oz) with Est. P-7958 and Best By dates 10/4/2019, 10/11/2019, 10/20/2019, 10/25/2019, 11/8/2019
Knott’s Chicken Salad Spread (5 LB.) with Est. P-7958 and Expiration dates 10/4/2019, 10/11/2019, 10/20/2019, 10/25/2019, 11/8/2019
Knott’s Pure South All White Meat Buffalo Chicken Dip with Est. P-7958 and Best by dates 11/12/19 and 11/19/19
Alpineaire Chicken Gumbo with Est. P-8132 on the label and lot codes 213192547MDA2, 217192561JUA2, 262192743RCA1, 198192492RCA1, 189192452SGA1, 155192326MDA2, 154192319SGA2, 169192387MDA2, 169192388JUA3
Alpineaire Chicken Tropicana with Est. P-8132 on the label and lot codes 161192355RCHF, 16419236MDA2, 163192364MDA2
Alpineaire Kung Pao Chicken with Est. P-8132 on the label and lot codes 206192516SGA2, 206192516MDA2, 197192490JUA3, 193192473RCA1, 190192457NVA1, 204192508JUA3, 156192334MDA2, 155192332MDA2
Alpineaire Rice & Bean Bowl with Chicken with Est. P-8132 on the label and lot codes 156192340MDA2, 156192339RCA1, 157192345GGA5
Alpineaire Smokehouse Chicken with Rice & Beans with Est. P-8132 on the label and lot codes 206192521MDA5, 193192474SGA2, 199192497RCA1, 204192506JUA3
Alpineaire Spicy Chicken Curry with Est. P-8132 on the label and lot codes 205192512JUA3, 176192411MDA2, 177192417MDA2
Alpineaire Sweet Potato Chicken & Rice with Est. P-8132 on the label and lot codes 210192526JUA3, 218192568MDA2, 156192338JUA3, 157192341RCA1, 164192372MDA2, 161192356SGA4, 168192382NVA4, 165192375GGA2
Alpineaire Thai Style Chicken with Noodles with Est. P-8132 on the label and lot codes 206192515RCA1, 193192478RCA1, 192192466RCA1, 196192480MDA2, 176192410MDA2, 162192359JUA3
Alpineaire Three Cheese Chicken Pasta with Est. P-8132 on the label and lot codes 196192484RCA1, 192192467NVA2, 205192511JUA3, 177192418JUA3, 178192425GGA5
Duke Chicken Salad made with White Meat Chicken (12 oz.) with Est. P-34048 and Best By 10/23/19 through 10/28/19
Duke Chicken Salad (5LB, 2 per case) with Est. P-34048 and Sell by dates 02/25/19 through 10/26/19
Five Points Deli Famous Chicken Salad (12 oz.) with Est. P-34048 and Best by 03/03/19 through 10/14/19
Clean Eatz Baja Pineapple Chicken with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “MAR 31 2020” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz BBQ Chicken with Red Potatoes with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “JAN 31 2020” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz Big Boy in a Bowl with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “FEB 31 2020” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “MAR 31 2020” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz Chicken Bacon Ranch with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “NOV 31 2019” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz Chicken Lo Mein with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “JAN 31 2020” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz Honey Mustard Chicken with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “NOV 31 2019” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz Jerk Chicken with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “OCT 30 2019” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz Mashed Potato Bowl with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “FEB 31 2020” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz Monterey Chicken with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “OCT 30 2019” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz Sticky Chicken Bowl and a Roll with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “MAR 20 2020” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz Thai Basil Chicken with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “JAN 31 2020” stamped on the label
Clean Eatz Verde Chicken with Est. P-51315 and expiration date “NOV 31 2019” stamped on the label
Nutrisystem “Three Cheese Chicken” item # 58113 with date range BEST IF USED BY APR 17 2020 to JUL 31 2020.
Nutrisystem “Three Cheese Chicken”, item # 58148 with date range BEST IF USED BY JUL 11 2020 to SEP 06 2020.
Premo Wedge Chicken Salad On Wheat Lipari # 915530 4 / 5 oz. Best by 10/13/2019, 10/16/2019, 10/17/2019 & 10/18/2019 UPC 612510002032
Private Selection Chicken Gyro Triangles (9.28 oz), Canada Est. 606 Best by May 08 2020
Private Selection Butter Chicken Spring Rolls (11.84 oz), Canada Est. 347 Best by JUN062020, JUN072020, JUL192020, JUL222020
Great Value Butter Chicken Spring Rolls (11.8 oz), Canada Est. 347 Best if used by JUN 06 2020
Cuisine Adventures Chicken Poblano Firecrackers (30 oz.), Canada Est. 347 Best Before 2020AU22, 2020AU23
Backpacker’s Pantry Chicken Lasagna (4.4oz) with Est. P-4933 and Best By dates 06/12/29 through 06/26/29
Backpacker’s Pantry Chicken with Rice (4.4oz) with Est. P-4933 and Best By dates 05/01/29 through 08/14/29
Comfort Cuisine Cape Cod Chicken Salad (40 oz) with Est. P-7916 and Use By dates: 09/24/19, 09/25/19, 09/30/19, 10/01/19, 10/02/19, 10/07/19, 10/08/19, 10/09/19, 10/15/19, 10/16/19, 10/19/19, 10/21/19, 10/22/19, 10/23/19, 10/28/19, 10/29/19, 10/30/19, 11/04/19, 11/05/19, 11/06/19
5-lb. tubs (2/case) containing “Sycamore Farms Brand White Meat Chicken Salad” with use by dates of 10/15 and 11/5/2019 with Establishment P-40383
1-lb. plastic tubs (16/case) containing “Park Street Deli Brand Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad with Premium White Meat Chicken” with use by dates of 9/30, 10/15, 10/16, 10/21 and 10/22/2019 with Establishment P-40383
80 oz. Aluminum Pan of Gordon’s Choice, Chicken and Dumplings with a production date of 3/14/19 and 5/28/19, Lot code 19073 and 19148. Products have a Use By/Sell By package and case code of 19073 HH:MM and 19148 HH:MM with Establishment P-17644
80 oz. Aluminum Pan of Gordon’s Choice, Escalloped Chicken and Noodles with a production date of 4/26/19, Lot code 19116. Product has a Use By/Sell By package and case code of 19116 HH:MM with Establishment P-17644
64 oz. Saddle Packs of Molly’s Kitchen, White Bean Chicken Chili with a production date of 9/6/2019, Lot code 09069. Product has a Use By/Sell By package code of Jun 05 2021 08079 P17644 4A1 HHMM with Establishment P-17644
Trader Joes Chicken Pot Pie SKU 093809 with lot codes 100219-100619 and package code of 10/2/19-10/6/2019 with Establishment P-34309
Trader Joes Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Chicken SKU 099050 with lot codes 100219- 100619 and package code of 10/2/19-10/6/2019 with Establishment P-34309
Trader Joes Pesto Chicken Wrap SKU 092018 with lot codes 100219-100619 and package code of 10/2/19-10/6/2019 with Establishment P-34309
Trader Joes White Meat Chicken Salad SKU 0980913 with lot codes 100219-100619 and package code of 10/2/19-10/6/2019 with Establishment P-34309
Market Sandwich Southwest Style Chicken Salad Wrap SKU 2577 (lot codes 20190913, 20190905, 20190827, 20190822, 20190808, 20190718, 20190705, 20190628, 20190425, 20190411, 0190404, 20190326, 20190322, 20190301)
Market Sandwich Southwest Style Chicken Salad Wrap SKU 2646 (lot codes 20190920, 20190913, 20190905, 20190815, 20190809, 20190516, 20190411, 20190404)
Archer Farms Chicken Caesar Wrap SKU 2893 (lot codes 20190705, 20190516)
San Luis Chicken Rice & Cheese Burrito SKU 2963 (lot code 20190731)
Listeria can cause listeriosis, which is a serious infection that primarily affects pregnant women people with weakened immune systems, newborns, and older adults. The bacteria can cause a bloodsteam or brain infection, but can be treated with antibiotics.
Symptoms could include fever, diarrhea, muscle aches, and a headache. Contact your doctor if you think you may have been affected.
If you've purchased any of the affected product, Tip Top Poultry is asking that you throw them away or return it to the store you purchased it from.