The recall was prompted by random test findings of listeria in Food and Drug Administration samples taken in Colorado and California, said Kim St. George, River Ranch director of marketing.
The company was notified May 16 and 17, she said, and began contacting customers. Recalled products were processed in a Salinas plant whose closure was announced the week before.
“Just out of an abundance of caution we did our own additional testing on retained samples from an adjacent production area to make sure the scope of the recall was appropriate,” St. George said May 21. “Test results Saturday indicated we needed to expand the recall.”
The recall and plant closure decisions were not related, she said.
“We had already decided we were closing the facility several weeks ago,” she said. “A lot of our production had already been transitioned (to Taylor Farms).”
No illnesses have been reported.
A listeria finding also prompted last October’s voluntary recall of River Ranch bagged lettuce based on an Ohio test. In March, an FDA letter to the company reported an inspection done after that recall found samples of listeria in the plant.
The list of additional recalled products includes 14 with the River Ranch label, some in multiple sizes. They include Heritage Blend, a Caesar salad kit, three cole slaw mixes and kits plus a variety of salads. Romaine, iceberg lettuce, spring mix, cabbage and carrots are the main ingredients.
Other labels in the expanded recall include The Farmer’s Market, with similar products; Hy-Vee (10), Shurfresh (4) and Farm Stand and Sysco with one each.
All of those labels were also included in the initial recall along with retail label Marketside and foodservice labels Cross Valley, Fresh n Easy and Promark.
The River Ranch products were distributed nationwide; other labels were distributed in more than 30 states.
Recall expands — again
Pacific Coast Fruit Co., Portland, Ore., added processed salads to the recall on May 20. According to a recall notice, Pacific Coast received lettuce processed by River Ranch and packaged it under Pacific Coast retail and foodservice brands.
Ted Hendryx, senior vice president of operations, said Pacific Coast distributed the salads to about 100 Fred Meyer grocery stores, to Avanti and Evergreen vending machine suppliers, and to foodservice customers in Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Idaho.
“We found out about it at 4 p.m. May 18 and started contacting our customers immediately. We had all of our restaurant customers notified by Friday evening and everyone else by phone and e-mail by Saturday (May 19),” said Hendryx.
He said Pacific Coast notified FDA via the Reportable Food Registry portal on the Web and FDA officials called Pacific Coast on Sunday, May 20. However, FDA did not post the recall notice until May 22 because “they were working with us to finalize the language,” Hendryx said.
The recalled retail salads are packed in a 9.6-ounce and 10-ounce clamshell style foodservice items are packed in 5-pound to 20-pound food service salads bags, according to the recall notice.