Pennsylvania processor Fresh Foods Manufacturing Co. has recalled about 4 1/2 tons of salad products due to potential contamination with E. coli in wake of a notice by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that 35 cases of E. coli infection may be linked to chopped romaine lettuce from Arizona.
The company issued its notice on the 8,757 pounds of romaine after receiving word from its romaine lettuce supplier that its product was being recalled due to E. coli concerns, according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Based on that recall, Giant Eagle, Market District and GetGo stores in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana have recalled numerous products, according to a news release. The items being removed include ready-to-eat packaged salads along with romaine products in the catering, restaurant and salad bar areas.
The ready-to-eat items subject to recall were packaged April 9-13 and sold in clear plastic containers, per the release. The full list contains dozens of items, including salads with chicken, ham and other protein. FSIS is in charge of ensuring safety of meat and poultry, which is why it delivered the notice about Fresh Foods Manufacturing.
Products removed from retail shelves include the Great to Go Caesar Chicken Salad, Great to Go Chicken Bacon Cobb Salad, Market District Caesar Salad, Market District Big Box Lunch, Giant Eagle Garden Salad with Ranch Dressing, Giant Eagle Greek Salad and many other items.
Giant Eagle stated no illnesses have been associated with its recall.
Consumer Reports has warned shoppers to avoid all romaine, despite the CDC stating that its investigation is focused on chopped romaine from Arizona specifically.
“It is unrealistic to expect consumers to figure out whether their romaine was produced in Arizona or somewhere else, especially when eating in a restaurant,” Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives of the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, said in a post on the organization’s website. “FDA should just advise consumers to avoid romaine lettuce until further notice.”
Most romaine currently being harvested and shipped is coming from California, which is not implicated in the outbreak, according to the United Fresh Produce Association. The organization is cooperating with health officials and working to help them pinpoint the source of the illnesses, according to a joint statement from United Fresh, Produce Marketing Association, Western Growers, and the California/Arizona Leafy Green Marketing Agreements.
The CDC has been focusing on romaine because 26 of 28 people interviewed reported eating it in the week before they became ill.
This outbreak is the second one in six months that has been tied to romaine. In December there were concurrent E. coli outbreaks in the U.S. and Canada, and while the U.S. said the illnesses appeared to be related, Canada blamed romaine for its outbreak, while the U.S. did not pinpoint a specific source other than leafy greens in general.