UPDATED: Fresh Express recalls salad mix because of listeria concern

08/11/2010 11:00:00 AM
Ashley Bentley

(UPDATED COVERAGE, 7 p.m.) Fresh Express issued a recall for one production run of its Veggie Lovers Salad — which amounts to more than 2,800 cases — because of a possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Courtesy Fresh Express

Fresh Express Veggie Lover's Salads with a produce code of I208 and a use-by date of Aug. 10 are being recalled by Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Express. More than 2,800 bags of salad were distributed in as many as 27 states.

Packages of Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International’s Salinas, Calif.-based salad division Fresh Express’ Veggie Lovers Salad with a product code of I208 and use-by date of Aug. 10 are the only ones involved in this recall.

The code and date are in the upper right-hand corner of each package.

A test by the Ohio Department of Agriculture on the product yielded a positive result for the listeria bacterium, which led the company to issue the recall. Barbara Hines, a spokeswoman for Fresh Express, said the recall was issued the same day the company was contacted by the department of agriculture.

“The recall was issued within a few hours. We only received the information yesterday,” Hines said on the afternoon of Aug. 11. “The team assembled immediately. At this point, all retail contacts have been made—we started yesterday when the reacall was announced.”

For Fresh Express, because of its size, the almost 3,000 cases involved is a very limited number of cases, Hines said.

Fresh Express’ own traceability assessment and review of food safety documentation turned up negative for listeria. Hines said the both the company and food safety authorities continue to investigate the contamination.

“Based on the information we have at this time, we do have a reason to think that this is no more than an isolated incident,” Hines said. “This is still the result of one test on one package.”

Fresh Express distributed the product to 13 states, and cases could potentially have gone to 14 more through redistribution.

Courtesy Fresh Express

Fresh Express' Veggie Lover's Salad includes iceberg and romaine lettuces, as well as carrots, red cabbage, snow peas and radishes.

The salad mixes were distributed in Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Kansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and were possibly redistributed to Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Connecticut and Mississippi.

In July, Fresh Express recalled romaine lettuce salad products after a third-party laboratory for the Food and Drug Administration came up with a positive test result for E. coli O157:H7. No illnesses were reported with the July recall or with the current one.

Fresh Express has a customer response center open for calls from consumers and retailers concerning the recall, at (800) 242-5472.



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