Johnston County Hams is recalling about 90,000 pounds of ready-to-eat ham products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, linked by government officials to one death.

The deli-loaf hams from the Smithfield, N.C., business were shipped to distributors in Maryland, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina and Virginia. An investigation confirmed four listeriosis illnesses between July 8, 2017, and Aug. 11, 2018, the federal Food Safety Inspection Service announced.

Products should not be eaten, and any ham stored in freezers should be thrown away or returned to the place where purchased.

These products, wrapped in plastic and weighing 7 to 8 pounds, are included in the recall:

  • Johnston County Hams, Inc. Country Style Fully Cooked Boneless Deli Ham
  • Ole Fashioned Sugar Cured The Old Dominion Brand Hams Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham with sell-by dates from April 10, 2018, to Sept. 27, 2019
  • Padow’s Hams & Deli, Inc. Fully Cooked Country Ham Boneless Glazed with Brown Sugar
  • Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham Less Salt, Distributed By: Valley Country Hams LLC, with sell-by dates from April 10, 2018, to Sept. 27, 2019
  • Goodnight Brothers Country Ham Boneless Fully Cooked

The hams were produced from April 3, 2017, to Oct. 2, 2018, and have the establishment number “EST. M2646” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

FSIS was notified Sept. 27 that a person ill with listeriosis had eaten a product produced at Johnston County Hams. Working with the CDC, state public health officials and agricultural partners, FSIS determined a link between the illnesses and the company’s products.

FSIS collected two ham product samples from the Johnston County Hams facility in 2016 and in early 2018. Whole genome sequencing results showed that Listeria monocytogenes identified in deli ham both years was closely related genetically to Listeria monocytogenes from ill people. The investigation continues to determine whether additional illnesses are linked to the products.

Listeriosis infection primarily affects older adults, people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and newborns. People in those higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical help.

Consumers with recall questions can contact Rufus Brown, Johnston County Hams plant manager, at 919-934-8054.