More than 12,000 pounds of chicken was voluntarily recalled by the Wayne Farms company starting on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The ready-to-eat chicken products could be tainted by bacteria because of "a potential processing defect."

Specifically, 12,610 pounds of the "Waffle Breaded Bites: Fully Cooked Breaded White Meat Chicken Bites" product from Wayne Farms LLC was named by FSIS as possibly having bacterial pathogens in it. The chicken pieces suspected as potentially being tainted were packaged Dec. 1, 13 and 30, 2016, and have the "establishment number" of P-20214. They were sold after those dates at Food Lion grocery stores in the following states: Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

FSIS classified the recall as a "Class I" status, defined as "a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death."

There was no mention of the chicken bites recall on the website of the Alabama-based Wayne Farms as of late Tuesday night EST. It was not immediately clear if Wayne Farms would be offering any refunds or compensation for shoppers who bought the chicken bites. However, the company's contact information was posted online.

Wayne Farms' recall came a little more than a week after another poultry recall involving more than 59,000 pounds of chicken salad bowls was voluntarily initiated by Three Ready Pac Foods Inc. on Feb. 22. That recall was also because of bacteria, only it was from possible Listeria contamination instead of more generic bacterial pathogens.

The Centers for Disease Control defined Listeria as being "a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems."