May 26th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
And the salmonella hits just keep on comin’…
Two recent recalls—romaine lettuce and alfalfa sprouts—were bad enough, but we have a new one to report: Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Express just announced a salmonella-related recall of specific Fresh Express romaine-based, ready-to-eat salads.
Affected products have expiration dates of May 13 through May 16, as well as an “S” in their product codes. Please refer to the full product list at the end of this article.
At press time, the recall extended only to products with these use-by dates and product codes that were sold in the following states: Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The recall has been issued because a single package of Fresh Express Hearts of Romaine Salad, with a use-by date of May 15, tested positive for salmonella in a random sample test conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Because it’s still possible that products bearing these dates could be on store shelves, this recall extends to both retailers and consumers.
Consumers who have an affected product should immediately dispose of it and contact a Fresh Express consumer representative at (800) 242-5472 (Monday through Friday, 24 hours per day).
The affected products include:
Read More:Fresh Express Recalls Romaine-Based Salads
May 25th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
In light of yesterday’s report on salmonella-contaminated alfalfa sprouts, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to remind consumers that certain populations should avoid eating organic or nonorganic raw sprouts of any kind:
- The elderly
- Pregnant women
- Individuals with weakened immune systems
Alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts are included on the list, among other varieties.
People who fall into the affected groups should check salads and sandwiches purchased at restaurants and delicatessens to ensure raw sprouts are not added to prepared foods.
Bacteria can enter sprout seeds through cracks in the shells before they’re grown—and the pathogens are nearly impossible to wash out. Sprouts grown in the home are also risky if eaten raw.
If pathogenic bacteria are present in or on the seed, they can grow to high levels during sprouting, even under clean conditions.
Many salmonella outbreaks have been linked to contaminated seeds. As with most foodborne illnesses, children, the elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromised patients are more susceptible to infection and poor outcomes.
Cooking sprouts can reduce the risk of illness.
Read More:Four Groups Should Never Eat Raw Sprouts
May 24th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Maywood, Calif.-based Caldwell Fresh Foods has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of all alfalfa sprout products, which have been linked to a salmonella outbreak in 10 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Wisconsin.
Of the 22 confirmed patients, six have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Sprouts were sold under three brand names:
- Caldwell Fresh Foods
- Nature’s Choice
- California Exotics
The sprouts were distributed to a variety of restaurants, delicatessens and retailers, including Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart stores. Some outbreak patients reported eating sprouts at restaurants; others purchased them at retail outlets.
Consumers and restaurant/delicatessen operators should immediately stop using the affected products.
Caldwell’s other products, including organic selections like cole slaw mix, carrots, onions, celery and stir-fry blends, are not affected by this recall.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the outbreak in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health and public health agencies in other affected states. Scientists are now inspecting the firm’s facility and collecting samples.
Read More:FDA Issues Urgent National Recall of Alfalfa Sprouts
May 16th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and stage agencies have confirmed that the current multistate E. coli outbreak can be traced to bags of shredded romaine lettuce (not organic) distributed by Sydney, OH-based Freshway Foods.
As of Tuesday, there were 23 confirmed and 7 probable affected patients in Michigan, New York, Ohio and Tennessee—12 of whom have been hospitalized and 3 with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially life-threatening condition.
With HUS, the body’s blood-clotting mechanisms are altered, causing blocked circulation and/or bleeding in the brain or kidneys.
Based on available data, illnesses presented between April 10 and 26. Infected patients range in age from 13 to 31, with a median age of 19; 66% are male.
The recall of potentially contaminated products continues, and investigators are attempting to determine the supply-chain point where contamination occurred. They’re taking samples from Freshway’s processing facility, as well as a farm in Yuma, AZ, that grew the lettuce.
Graphic courtesy of the CDC
Read More:Romaine Officially Linked to E. Coli Outbreak
May 8th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Sidney, OH-based Freshway Foods has voluntarily recalled certain nonorganic packages of shredded and chopped romaine lettuce, as well as prepared salad bowls, because of a possible link between contaminated products and an outbreak of foodborne disease.
The outbreak, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently investigating, involves E. coli O145 illnesses among Michigan, Ohio and New York consumers.
According to Freshway, the romaine was sold to wholesalers, food-service outlets, and some in-store salad bars and delis in Alabama, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The recalled packages (click here for a complete list) have a “best if used by” date of May 12 or earlier. Restaurants, distributors, retailers and consumers should throw out or refrain from using products with these dates—many of which were sold in grab-and-go salads at Kroger, Giant Eagle and Ingles Markets, as well as Marsh stores.
Packages with “use by” dates after May 12 are not involved in the recall, nor is romaine from other producers.
To date, 19 confirmed cases of E. coli O145 illness have been reported in Michigan, Ohio and New York, with 12 hospitalizations.
Common symptoms of E. coli infection include mild or major diarrhea. Acute symptoms include severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which may be bloody. Patients may progress to serious complications, such as kidney damage.
The FDA urges consumers who have eaten listed romaine products and who now have symptoms to call their physicians immediately.
If you have additional questions, please call Freshway Foods’ information desk at (888) 361-7106 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday), or visit the company’s website for updates.
Read More:Romaine Lettuce Recalled After E. Coli Outbreak