Sudden Recall Issued for Expired Romaine Lettuce Salads Linked to E. coli Illnesses
Missa Bay, LLC, a Swedesboro, NJ subsidiary of Bonduelle Fresh Americas, issued a recall of salad products on November 21st in connection to an ongoing Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak. The recall comes just hours after the company issued a press release saying that, due to expired use-by dates, no recall would be issued.
Now, a total of 75,233 pounds of salad kits that contain meat or poultry, all produced between October 14–16, were recalled because the romaine lettuce ingredient in those salads may be contaminated with E. coli. The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 18502B” inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mark of inspection.
The implicated products were shipped to distribution locations in 22 states.
An updated press release issued by Bonduelle revealed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that this is now a multistate outbreak. Although the outbreak appeared to have originated in Maryland, additional patients have been confirmed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wisconsin. A total of 17 people have been affected. Still, Bonduelle’s statement says that other than patients in Maryland, none of the victims in other states have reported eating the original Ready Pac Foods Bistro Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics Caesar Salad implicated since the outbreak was first announced.
Originally, the Maryland Department of Health tested an unopened salad kit—Ready Pac Bistro Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics Caesar Salad—from a confirmed outbreak patient. That salad kit’s romaine lettuce tested positive for the same outbreak strain of E. colI O157:H7. The recall, however, includes many salad varieties. All products from the same lot of lettuce are included in the recall. In fact, USDA’s website has published a whopping 35 pages of recalled salad kit labels for identification purposes.
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is concerned that, even though the salad kits in question have since expired, some consumers may still have them at home. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.