UPDATED: True Leaf recalls romaine lettuce - The Packer

UPDATED: True Leaf recalls romaine lettuce

09/30/2011 09:28:00 AM
Chris Koger

(UPDATED COVERAGE, Oct. 3) True Leaf Farms expanded its voluntary recall of chopped romaine lettuce to include 2,498 cartons shipped to 19 states and Canada. Possible listeria contamination prompted the company to initially recall 90 cartons.

No illnesses have been reported.

The romaine was shipped Sept. 12-13 by Salinas, Calif.-based Church Bros. LLC to an Oregon distributor. The 90 cartons were available for direct consumer purchase at Unified Grocers Inc. Cash & Carry Smart Food Service stores in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Everything else went to foodservice.

A random sample from a bag at one of the stores in Seattle tested positive for listeria by IEH Laboratories, a contractor for the FDA.

At the request of the Food and Drug Administration, True Leaf expanded the recall to cover additional product shipped to wholesale foodservice distributors in 19 states and Alberta, Canada. The states are Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Vermont.

The chopped romaine sold at retail was packed in True Leaf Farms cardboard cartons. The 2-pound bags had a bag and box code of B256-46438-8, with a use-by date of Sept. 29.

The Food and Drug Administration notified the company Sept. 28, which in turn notified its customers the same day, said Steve Church, chief executive officer of Church Bros.

“We’re working with the FDA,” Church said. “They’re doing their due diligence and we’re cooperating fully with them.”

True Leaf is the processing division for Church Bros.

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Salinas, California  |  October, 03, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Consumers can elect to purchase the unprocessed whole produce, in this case lettuce which can be easily washed before preparation. The pre-cut produce has much more opened (chopped) surface area for contamination to thrive. The un- processed (not chopped or cut) is much safer from a consumer persperctive.

Vancouver, BC  |  October, 03, 2011 at 11:02 AM

We have seen recalls on produce from companies whom have spent huge amount of resources to be food safe. Unfortunately, there are so many factors that could contribute to contamination throughout the whole supply chain. When I look at the food safety programs today in most established growing/packing facility and their efficient and dedicated field workers (mostly Hispanics), I am thankful for that as a consumer and distributor because they keep the produce industry moving forward.

Ben Mark    
USA  |  October, 03, 2011 at 06:17 PM

To wash foodborne pathogens away with water is the biggest joke I ever heard. You can’t even kill most of them by freezing or cooking. Is this a new way to blame us consumer when we buy contaminated food not to do the right thing? Why does it take all these companies weeks and months to get the stuff removed from the market? It always starts with a small recall, nothing to worry about... just a few cases and then it gets bigger and bigger and goes on for months. Where is the traceback they always talk about now in the Press? Or does the food supplier have a license to make people sick and kill? Recycling through people’s stomach is cheaper then a recall, that’s for sure.

Toronto, Ontario  |  October, 07, 2011 at 03:28 PM

For many years regulatory agencies such as the FDA and FSIS in the US and FCIA in Canada have required that a Distributor or manufacturer know where they received their products from and who they shipped it to or where they used it (if a manufacturer). The problem, is that about half do not currently comply with these regulations (big and small) as they were never forced or approached by the regulating agency to do so. This has been a problem for many years and appears to be getting worst instead of better.

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