'Fresh Express' salads recalled over contamination

August 10, 2010 4:49:52 PM PDT
Veggie eaters should check what's in their refrigerators today after a Monterey County producer and distributor of ready-to-eat packaged salads announced a voluntary recall of almost 3,000 cases of salad due to a possible health risk.

Fresh Express is asking consumers and retailers who purchased or sold the Veggie Lovers Salad with an expiration date of today and a product code of I208 to immediately discard any unconsumed product. Both the product code and use-by date can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the package.

The Salinas-based salad producer said it is acting out of "an abundance of caution" due to a possible health risk posed by a food borne-illness inducing bacterium.

No other Fresh Express salads are included in the recall, and no illnesses have been linked to the salads, according to the company.

Fresh Express distributed the 2,825 cases of salad to 13 states outside of California with the potential for redistribution by customers to an additional 14 states, according to company officials.

When ingested, the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, can cause symptoms including fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal ailments such as nausea or diarrhea. If the infection spreads to the nervous system, the afflicted may also experience headaches, a stiff neck or confusion.

Pregnant women and adults with compromised immune systems at the most at risk; most healthy adults and children rarely become seriously ill, according to Fresh Express.

The company issued the recall after what it said is an isolated instance where a random sample test conducted by the Ohio Department of Agriculture found one package of the salad tested positive for the bacterium.

Upon learning about the positive test result, Fresh Express said it conducted a full review of its food safety documentation, which it said it found to be in compliance and without previous recorded presence of the bacterium.

Retailers and consumers with questions can call the Fresh Express Consumer Response Center at (800) 242-5472 business days from 5 a.m. until 8 p.m.


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