FDA announces listeria outbreak linked to packaged salad
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are investigating a multistate outbreak of listeria infections they believe is linked to packaged salad.
According to the CDC, as of Dec. 21, 2021, 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of listeria have been reported from eight states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from July 26, 2016 to October 19, 2021.
Recalled salad items were distributed through retailers in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States, as well as distributors and retailers in Canada. U.S. distribution includes the states of CT, IA, IL, IN ,KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, WI. Canadian distribution includes the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.
As a part of routine sampling, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) collected a product sample of Fresh Express Sweet Hearts salad mix with a Use-By-Date of Dec. 8, 2021 for testing.
The sample tested positive for listeria and subsequent whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis determined that the listeria present in the samples matches the strain that has caused illnesses in this outbreak.
In response to the sample results and the ongoing outbreak investigation, Fresh Express voluntarily ceased production at the Streamwood, IL, facility and initiated a recall of certain varieties of its branded and private label salad products produced at the company’s Streamwood, Illinois facility.
The recall includes all Use-By Dates of fresh salad items with product codes Z324 through Z350. Product codes are located on the front of the packages below the Use-By Date, as shown above.
No other Fresh Express products are subject to recall. A full list of recalled products is available on FDA’s website.
"In the event consumers have the recalled products in their refrigerators, they should be discarded and not consumed," Fresh Express said.
"To obtain a refund or for more information, consumers may call the Fresh Express Consumer Response Center at (800) 242-5472 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time. Refunds are also available where purchased."
Listeria is a bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Consumers with these symptoms should consult their health care provider.