“But that’s the first one I’ve heard of based on proximity. You have to give them credit because that is certainly an abundance of caution.”
“It’s not clear how close the fields are,” York said. “The (Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement) metrics define buffers. Maybe it was separated by strictly a field road.”
It’s common for companies to issue voluntary recalls if a sample of their product tested positive for a pathogen, whether the sample was from a field, distribution center or store shelf.
“There have been other examples of a product withdrawn from the marketplace before it ever gets to a recall stage,” said Jim Bogart, president of Salinas-based Grower-Shipper Association of Central California. “As to whether another grower’s field has been involved, I’m not familiar with those circumstances. But it’s a good thing. They’re exercising extra precaution and going the extra mile.”
After Growers Express requested customers to withdraw the lettuce from shelves, it appears Kroger Co. was the only one to do so, at its Smith’s Food and Drug stores.
Kroger, which identified the removal as “active recalls” on Kroger and Smith’s Food websites, initially reported pulling iceberg lettuce heads from Kroger banner stores in North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky, but revised that statement later.
Only Smith’s outlets received the product, said Keith Dailey, spokesman for Kroger Co. Shipments to Kroger stores in the mid-Atlantic were stopped before leaving distribution centers.
“It was Smith’s, primarily in Utah, southern Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico,” Dailey said.
The Arizona-grown iceberg was pulled on or shortly before Dec. 30. Volume numbers weren’t available, Dailey said.
Strachan didn’t name the grower or distributor of the lettuce grown in the adjacent field, but told The Associated Press it was south of Phoenix.
“(We) were notified that an unrelated and unharvested lot of iceberg adjacent to ours that did not belong to Growers Express tested positive for salmonella several days after we had harvested our product,” Growers Express said on its website Dec. 31. “(A)ll of our post-harvest testing of the packed iceberg harvested off this lot tested negative for salmonella.”