Meatballs are among the items being recalled by Buona Vita,...

Meatballs are among the items being recalled by Buona Vita, a manufacturer in Bridgeton, N.J. Credit: Newsday, 2002 / Daniel Goodrich

A southern New Jersey-based meat company has recalled more than 324,000 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat meat and poultry products due to a possible bacteria contamination.

Bridgeton-based Buona Vita and the USDA announced the nationwide recall Saturday of 324,770 pounds of meat items including meatballs, dinner loafs and burger patties with the production dates of May 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria was discovered through microbiological testing at the company's plant in Ohio.

Among the affected brands are Silver Lake Brand, Argentina Pride, Dirusso, Buona Vita and Mama Isabella. The packages bear the establishment number "P-954" or "Est. 954" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products were sold to distribution facilities nationwide.

There have been no reports of persons have been sickened or hospitalized.

Listeria is one of the bacterial culprits in food poisoning. It is found in soil and water and some animals, including poultry and cattle. It can be present in raw milk and foods made from raw milk. It can also live in food processing plants and contaminate a variety of processed meats.

Listeria is unlike many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator. It is killed by cooking and pasteurization.

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