Federal law enforcement officials have stepped in to protect the public from potentially dangerous crab meat, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported Wednesday.

About 5,000 cases of ready-to-eat frozen Jonah crab products, processed through the Massachusetts-based company Rome Packing, were seized by U.S. Marshals after the FDA determined the company had failed to maintain sanitary conditions at its Lakeville, Ma., location. That failure possibly exposed the crab products to Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono), a pathogenic bacteria known to cause food poisoning when ingested.

“The FDA made several efforts to help Rome Packing correct processes, but the company failed to take adequate corrective measures,” said Melinda K. Plaisier, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, in a statement released by the agency. “In this case, we had to intervene and seize this adulterated food to prevent it from reaching consumers.”

Last winter, FDA inspectors detected traces of L. mono in the manufacturing area of the Rome Packing facility. They also observed numerous safety violations — not the least of which involved undercooking their crab meat. These inadequate temperatures might have allowed any contaminated crab products to survive unabated until they reached the supermarket and represented a potential risk to human health, according to the FDA.

Found often in soil, L. mono can cause listeriosis when it successfully takes hold in people. Like many other food-borne illnesses, it finds this easier to do in vulnerable populations such as pregnant people, the elderly and the very young, or people with weak immune systems. Its symptoms include a stiff neck, convulsions, and fever, among others — it can also cause miscarriage or premature delivery in those pregnant.

Its primary sources of food contamination include raw milk and seafood, though it can be found elsewhere. According to the FDA, L. mono is capable of surviving for prolonged periods of time in a myriad of diverse conditions, including refrigerated areas.

Last September, the CDC, in conjunction with the FDA, announced the discovery of a multistate outbreak of listeriosis traced back to soft cheese products that made at least 24 people ill. Thankfully, no illnesses from Rome Packing’s crab products have been reported as of yet. Unfortunately for the company, it has currently ceased any operations.