According to the FDA, Dole Fresh Vegetables is voluntarily recalling 2,598 cases of bagged salad. The product being recalled is Dole Hearts of Romaine coded 0540N165112A or B, with Use-by date of June 26 and UPC 7143000956 due to a possible health risk from Listeria monocytogenes.
The FDA claims the recall is being issued due to an isolated instance in which a sample of Dole Hearts of Romaine salad yielded a positive result for Listeria monocytogenes in a random sample test.
The product code and Use-by date are in the upper right-hand corner of the package; the UPC code is on the back of the package, below the barcode.
The salads were distributed in nine U.S. states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
No other salads are included in the recall. Only the specific Product Codes, UPC codes and June 26, 2012 Use-by date identified above are included in the recall.
Consumers who have any remaining product with these Product Codes should not consume it, but rather discard it. Retailers and consumers with questions may call the Dole Food Company Consumer Response Center at (800) 356-3111, which is open 8:00 am to 3:00 pm (PT) Monday – Friday.
The FDA advises retailers to check their inventories and store shelves to confirm that none of the product is mistakenly present or available for purchase by consumers or in warehouse inventories.
Dole Fresh Vegetables customer service representatives are already contacting retailers and are in the process of confirming that the recalled product is not in the stream of commerce.
The FDA reminds readers that Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause foodborne illness in a person who eats a food item contaminated with it. Symptoms of infection may include fever, muscle aches, gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea.
The illness primarily impacts pregnant women and adults with weakened immune systems. Most healthy adults and children rarely become seriously ill.
MSNBC points out that this is the third time in three months that Dole has recalled bagged salad because of contamination concerns.
“On April 14, the company recalled 756 cases of Seven Lettuces Salad because of potential salmonella contamination. On June 26, Dole recalled 1,000 cases of Kroger Fresh Selections Greener Supreme, Kroger Fresh Selections Leafy Romaine and Wal-Mart Marketside Leafy Romaine salads.”
Prepackaged Lettuce Has History of Contamination
Don’t buy any lettuce or salad that’s prepackaged. In 2010, Consumer Reports warned that tests conducted on “bagged salad” revealed elevated levels of bacteria that are common indicators of poor sanitation and fecal contamination.
Results varied among samples, even within the same brand. But packages with higher bacteria levels had similarities. Many contained spinach and were one to five days from their use-by date. Whether the greens came in a clamshell or bag, included “baby” greens, or were organic made no difference.
Also in 2010, Freshway Foods recalled lettuce mixes. Freshway Foods then advised consumers not to consume “grab and go” salads sold in store salad bars and delis at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets, and Marsh storesd. Freshway didn’t explain how “grab and go” lettuce differs from pre-packaged lettuce.
The Freshway recall also involved romaine lettuce sold in 23 states and the District of Columbia that was suspected of being contaminated with E. coli O145 bacteria — 19 cases of E. coli O145 illness were reported in Michigan, Ohio, and New York. Twelve people were hospitalized, including three with life-threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) caused by the bacterium.
History of Outbreaks Involving “Bagged” Leafy Greens: (Source)
November-December 2006 – Shredded lettuce contaminated with E. coli that was served at Taco John’s and Taco Bell restaurants sickened hundreds in the Midwest and East
September 2006 – E. coli-contaminated prewashed, bagged baby spinach sickened 205 across the nation and left five people dead
June 2005 – E. coli-contaminated Dole prepackaged lettuce sickened thirty in three states
September 2005 – Romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 left 32 people ill with E. coli infections in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Oregon
April 2004 – Spinach contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 sickened 16 people in California
October 2003 – E. coli-contaminated pre-washed spinach left thirteen residents of a California retirement facility ill with E. coli infection; two died
September 2003 – Bagged, pre-washed lettuce contaminated with E. coli sickened nearly forty patrons of a California restaurant chain
October 2003-May 2004 – Mixed greens containing E. coli-contaminated lettuce resulted in 57 reported illnesses in California
July-August 2002 – E. coli-contaminated Romaine lettuce sold in Washington state and Idaho left 29 people ill with E. coli infection
October 2003-May 2004 – Mixed greens containing E. coli-contaminated lettuce caused an outbreak that resulted in 57 reported E. coli cases in California
February.-March 1999 – E. coli-contaminated iceberg lettuce caused 72 reported E. coli illnesses in Nebraska
May 1998 – E. coli O157:H7-contaminated salad sickened two in California
May-June 1996 – Lettuce (mesclun; red leaf) contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 caused 61 reported cases in Connecticut, Illinois, and New York
July 1995 – Mixed lettuce contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 led to seventy reported cases in Montana
September 1995 – E. coli-contaminated Romaine lettuce sickened twenty people in Idaho
September 1995 – E. coli-contaminated iceberg lettuce led to an e. coli outbreak with thirty reported cases in Maine
October 1995 – Iceberg was believed to be the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak among 11 people in Ohio Illinois, and New York.
August 1993 – An E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was linked to a salad bar, with 53 reported cases in Washington State.