Margherita Pepperoni Recalled Due to Risk of Bacterial Contamination

Nearly 11,000 pounds of the product were shipped to stores nationwide

Pepperoni stick and slices Photo: Getty Images

Smithfield Packaged Meats has issued a nationwide recall of 10,990 pounds of ready-to-eat, unsliced pepperoni, sold under the brand Margherita Pepperoni, the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced on Dec. 14. The product may potentially be contaminated with Bacillus cereus, a type of bacteria known to cause vomiting and diarrhea. No illnesses have been reported.

The pepperoni comes in an 8-ounce stick and has the lot code P1931C and a “use by date” of 12-14-21 on the label. 

Jim Monroe, a spokesperson for Smithfield, said the company voluntarily initiated this recall out of an abundance of caution after a single customer tested the product after it had been distributed and detected traces of Bacillus cereus. FSIS said that the problem was reported to it by the Department of Defense.

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Bacillus cereus can cause vomiting and diarrhea, but illnesses are usually relatively mild and resolve quickly, says James E. Rogers, PhD, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 63,000 illnesses annually caused by Bacillus cereus, and nearly all stem from eating contaminated food. Only a handful of people each year become so sick that they must be hospitalized. People with a weakened immune system are at greatest risk for more serious illness, the CDC says.

If you have the recalled product in your cupboard or fridge, throw it out, Rogers says. Or you can return it to the store where it was purchased for a refund, Monroe says. 

Contact Smithfield Packaged Meats customer service with questions at (844) 342-2596.