Listeria Scare at Walmart Delis Leads to Nationwide Recall

Deli meats sent to Walmart stores recalled for possible contamination.

ByBy Aaron Katersky
August 24, 2010, 1:00 PM

Aug. 24, 2010— -- What's left of 160 tons of roast beef, ham, and salami sent this summer to Walmart stores across the country is being recalled because of possible contamination with Listeria, a potentially harmful bacteria.

The meats were not sold directly to consumers. Instead, the 380,000 pounds of meats were distributed by Zemco Industries of Buffalo, N.Y., to Walmarts for use in their in-store delis to make sandwiches.

"The problem was discovered as a result of a retail sample collected by the state of Georgia that confirmed positive for Listeria monocytogenes," the Agriculture Department said in a news release.

By now, a spokesman for Zemco told ABC News, most of the "Marketside Grab and Go" sandwiches sold in the Walmart delis had probably been eaten. The USDA has received no reports of Listeriosis, a potentially fatal disease.

Walmart has been instructed to remove any leftover Black Forest Ham, Angus Roast Beef or Hard Salami and destroy it.

It wasn't immediately clear how many stores sold the meat products. A spokeswoman for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest retailer, could not say where it was sold.

A retail sample collected in Georgia tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, Agricultural Department spokesman Gary Mickelson said. The organism can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and in others with weakened immune systems.

The products being recalled included Black Forest Ham With Natural Juices Coated with Caramel Color; Hot Ham, Hard Salami, Pepperoni, Sandwich Peppers; Virginia Brand Ham With Natural Juices, Made in New York, Fully Cooked Bacon, Sandwich Pickles, Sandwich Peppers; and Angus Roast Beef Coated with Caramel Color.

Walmart Deli Meat Recall

The packages, bearing vendor number 398412808 and the USDA mark of inspection, were produced between June 18 and July 2, with "use by" dates between Aug. 20 and Sept. 10.

Zemco is a unit of Springdale, Ark., meat producer Tyson Foods Inc.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events