Two major salad kit makers are recalling dozens of products over fears they are contaminated with the bacteria responsible for listeria.
Fresh Express, based in Morrow, Georgia is recalling three versions of its premade chopped salad kit after regulators found the contamination during routine testing. Affected products include the company’s Caesar Chopped Kit, Chopped Kit Chipotle Cheddar and the Publix-branded Makoto Honey Ginger Salad Kit.
None of these products will still be in stores, as all the recalled lots are past their marked ‘Sell By’ date. But officials warn that the salad kits could still be in people’s fridges.
Revolution Farms, in Caledonia, Michigan, also issued a recall of all of its products last week after a similar regulatory test found listeria contamination.
The bacterial infection is relatively harmless to most Americans but poses a risk to pregnant women and their unborn offspring.
Scroll down for the full list of affected products:
Revolution Farms recalled over a dozen salad kits as well as 10 bulk products over concerns that they contained listeria
The affected Fresh Express products were sold in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
The recalled Revolution Farms products were sold in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.
What is Listeriosis?
Where does it come from?
- Listeriosis is caused from infection by the germ listeria monocytogenes
- Listeria is everywhere in the environment
- It’s a type of bacterium that infects humans and other warm-blooded animals through contaminated food
- It’s found in dirty water, irrigation water, soil and fertiliser
- Soft cheeses such as Camembert; cold chicken and deli meats; raw seafood and cold seafood such as smoked salmon; ice cream, fresh fruit and bagged vegetables can also carry Listeria
- Infection can also occur through contact with animals and pests and insufficient cleaning of contaminated fruit and unclean hands
Who is most at risk of severe illness?
- Pregnant women, infants, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk
What are the symptoms?
- Listeria starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea and sometimes diarrhoea
- The time from consuming the bacterium to showing the signs of illness can often be between 8 to 90 days
- Some people end up in the hospital with dehydration
How can it be avoided?
- Don’t buy bruised or damaged fruit, wash it before eating and refrigerate within two hours of slicing
- Avoid foods past their ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date
- Cook foods thoroughly
- Reheat food until it is steaming hot
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 24 hours, or freeze
- Ready to eat food should never be stored in the fridge for too long as Listeria is one of the few pathogens that can grow in the refrigerator
Spotting instances of dangerous pathogens in circulating products is the purview of the Food and Drug Administration.
Earlier this year, the agency announced sweeping recalls of more than 400 pre-made food items in stores across the country that were feared to have been contaminated with listeria.
In leading up to the Fresh Express recall, a sample of a salad kit collected by the Georgia Department of Agriculture returned evidence of the listeria pathogen on March 31.
Revolution Farms announced its voluntary recall on April 5 after the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development found evidence of the pathogen in a random sample test of a package of Revolution Farms Green Sweet Crisp 5 oz. Retail with Best By date of April 2, 2023.
The company then noted that the recalled product may have played a role in a multistate outbreak of Listeriosis, the infection caused by the listeria bacterium, and extended the voluntary recall to cover more products across a wide range of grocery stores.
Listeriosis typically comes on after a person has eaten contaminated foods, most commonly among them are hot dogs and deli meats, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, especially melons, and unpasteurized dairy products.
The pathogen is unique among others that cause food-borne illnesses in that it thrives in low temperatures, such as inside a refrigerator, and can multiply to dangerous levels during storage.
Anyone can get listeriosis, but infection is most dangerous in seniors, people with weak or compromised immune systems, pregnant women, and developing fetuses.
Symptoms of infection typically include those that look somewhat like the flu – chills, fever, achiness, nausea and vomiting.
But within those specific groups, infection can prove fatal. For instance, Listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and death in newborn babies without timely treatment.
Even with adequate antibiotic treatment, the disease has a high mortality rate of up to 30 percent.
And over 90 percent of people with listeriosis are hospitalized, often in intensive care units.
In the US, an estimated 1,600 people get sick from listeria each year, and about 260 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
No illnesses linked to the recalled products have been reported yet.
But the CDC is currently investigating a listeria outbreak based on sick people’s samples collected as far back as July 2018.
As of February 15, 2023, the CDC has reported a total of 11 people infected with the outbreak strain.
That total is likely an undercount, though, as some people recover without medical care and are not tested for listeria.
The recall was initiated when it was learned a random sample test of a single salad kit with a Use-By Date of March 31, 2023 collected by the Georgia Department of Agriculture yielded a positive result for the Listeria pathogen