FDA Probes Listeria Outbreak Connected To Fresh Express Salads

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating a multistate outbreak of?Listeria monocytogenes infections associated with the consumption of packaged salad after ten people from eight states were infected with the outbreak strain.

According to the agency, a positive sample of Fresh Express Sweet Hearts salad mix has been reported to match the outbreak strain. Following this, Fresh Express recalled certain varieties of its branded and private label salad products produced at its Streamwood, Illinois facility.

The recalled salad items were distributed through retailers in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States, as well as distributors and retailers in Canada. Fresh Express’ recall of branded and private label salad products includes all Use-By Dates of fresh salad items with product codes Z324 through Z350.

The recall was necessitated after a sample of Fresh Express prepackaged romaine and sweet butter lettuce, collected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as part of their routine sampling efforts, tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and was a match to the outbreak strain.

Beginning in 2016 to the present, the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported ten illnesses associated with the strain of Listeria monocytogenes detected in the random sample. This included 10 hospitalizations and one death spanning the states of IL, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA and VA.

Listeria monocytogenes organism can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Fresh Express has now ceased production at their Streamwood, Illinois, facility, and urged consumers to throw out any products affected by the recall.

The FDA, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local partners, is continuing to investigate whether any additional products be implicated.

Further, a potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes has also forced Jamaica, New Jersey- based Haifa Smoked Fish Inc. to call back around 230 LB OF Turbot Cold Smoked 8 oz Package Lot # 246. The products were distributed to retail stores in New York and New Jersey Areas. However, no illness have been reported to date related to the recalled products.

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