Salad products recalled in 19 states; FDA investigates link to listeria outbreak

National

SAN FRANCISCO – JUNE 19: Fresh Express & Ready Pak Pre-Packaged salad sits on the shelf at a Bell Market grocery store June 19, 2003 in San Francisco, California. Packaged salad which was near non-existent a decade ago has become the second fastest selling item on grocery shelves behind bottle water, overall the retail market for bagged salad is $2 billion annually. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(WTAJ) — Salad manufacturer Fresh Express announced a voluntary recall Monday of certain varieties of its packaged products over listeria concerns. At least one person was sickened in Michigan.

The recall, involving salad items distributed across 19 U.S. states and portions of Canada, is now under investigation over ties to an outbreak that has left at least one person dead.

“The FDA, along with the CDC and our state and local partners, is working to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections,” FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas said in a news release Tuesday. “To date, a positive sample of Fresh Express Sweet Hearts salad mix has been reported to match the outbreak strain.”

Yiannas said that at least 10 people have been sickened by the outbreak strain across eight states: Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The FDA says the incidents span July 26, 2016 to Oct. 19, 2021, and led to at least 10 hospitalizations and one death.

Fresh Express ordered the recall after the Michigan Department of Agriculture detected listeria while performing a random sample test of a Sweet Hearts salad mix made in the company’s Streamwood, Illinois facility, according to a news release.

“We will continue to work with our partners and with Fresh Express to determine the source of this outbreak,” Yiannas said. “We remain committed to transparency and providing updates as we learn more during our continuing traceback investigation.”

Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea, upset stomach, stiff neck, headache, confusion and loss of balance. People who are pregnant are 10 times more likely to get listeriosis and it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or premature labor, according to the CDC.

The products under recall have the product codes Z324 through Z350. Anyone who has these recalled products should discard them. A full list of products can be found at FDA.gov.

To obtain a refund, customers can call the Fresh Express Consumer Response Center at 800.242.5472 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time or where the products were purchased.

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