Dole recalls bags of Seven Lettuces salad

04/16/2012 09:07:00 AM
Mike Hornick

(UPDATED COVERAGE, April 17) Dole Fresh Vegetables is voluntarily recalling 756 cases of Dole Seven Lettuces salads after state inspectors in New York detected salmonella in a random sample of the bagged salad.

“It was tested April 2, and FDA picked it up at retail in New York state,” said Marty Ordman, vice president of marketing and communications at Dole Food Co.

The sampled product originated at a Florida farm and was processed at a Dole Fresh Vegetables plant in Bessemer City, N.C., Ordman said.

“This was very isolated,” he said. “There were only 756 cases with a best used-by date of April 11. It’s already gone through the market and we’ve had no reported illnesses.”

Nicole Yuen, Stockton, Calif.-based FDA consumer safety officer, confirmed the sample was taken at a retail outlet but declined to name the city or store.

“We still need to confirm that through our traceback investigation,” Yuen said April 16. “When we’re completely done with the investigation we can provide that information.”

The salads were distributed in 15 states: Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The retail bags have Universal Product Codes of 71430 and 01057 and produce codes of 0577N089112A and 0577N089112B.

No other lettuce was involved in the recall.

“Retailers should 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,” according to a Dole news release.

Dole Fresh Vegetables customer service representatives are contacting affected retailers.

News Editor Chris Koger contributed to this article.



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Art Davis    
Minneapolis, MN  |  April, 16, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Testing in market bagged “Leafy Green” products will result in positives and recalls. Does such testing really accomplish anything from a disease prevention standpoint or just add to the “Background Noise” of recalls that desensitize folks to such news? So far as I am aware none of these finished product, in market, testing finds has ever been related to an actual disease outbreak. In this case if 756 cases, at, probably, 12 individual bags of product per case (9,072 bags), were significantly contaminated one would expect some evidence of illness in the associated markets as in all likelihood a significant portion of the product would have been consumed prior to any announcement of the recall. One wonders if FDA / CDC makes any special effort to detect foodborne illness in the markets where such recalls occur. If not, why not? Also…if contaminated product is detected does FDA or other regulatory agency then make an effort to collect and test additional samples from the affected lot? With current rapid methods it would seem likely that additional samples could be found if a rapid response system was in place.

Willette Crawford    
Columbia, SC  |  April, 16, 2012 at 01:16 PM

To my knowledge at least one or two of these instances of random sampling have been linked with illnesses; however, many are not. While all are not linked to illnesses, the information collectively provides insight into the incidence of microorganisms of public health significance in the fresh produce supply.

Erik    
Nebraska  |  April, 16, 2012 at 08:31 PM

I think it would be a waste of CDC/FDA's time to do that Art. The only way they would be able to obtain such info would be to first have two things: 1. Individuals that have sought medical treatment for foodborne-illness; most do not. 2. A physician to ask the patient to submit stool samples and test; things like salmonella and other food-borne illnesses are generally self-limited and there is no treatment so most physicians see this as pointless. So, without these two factors, FDA and CDC has nothing to evaluate. Of course, that's just the beginning of the investigation.

Erik    
Nebraska  |  April, 16, 2012 at 08:35 PM

Almost forgot my reference. This covers the reasons I gave and more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2627714/pdf/10511517.pdf

Art Davis    
Minneapolis, MN  |  April, 17, 2012 at 07:41 AM

OK then...what is the value / purpose of random sampling of in market bagged product? There is no doubt that occasional positives will be found. Does tracking the frequency of such findings have any value given that the other half of the equation, the total amount of product in market, is not a readily available number and fluctuates over time in an unknowable pattern. Neither is there an obvious response to such findings in terms of mitigation steps to reduce their frequency. I would think extensive field sampling would over time coulc provide information as to sources and frequency of original contamination leading to possible mitigation of the problem at the source. In addition the number of relatively useless recalls that desensitize the public to such warnings would be reduced.

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