The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced on November 21, 2019, that a voluntary recall was made by a New Jersey company, Missa Bay, of over 75,000 pounds of salad products that contain meat or poultry because the lettuce ingredient may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The company announced that over 30 packaged salad products with tainted romaine were produced from Oct. 14 through Oct. 16, 2019 and have use-by dates between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1, 2019. The products being recalled bear establishment number “EST. 18502B” inside the USDA mark of inspection. A list of the recalled products can be found at https://www.fsis.usda.gov
There have been seven hospitalizations, two of which developed kidney failure [haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)]. To date, 17 persons have been infected with E. coli with no deaths reported. The public is asked to dispose of any of the recalled products they may still have in their freezers after the use-by dates above. The Ready Pac Foods Bistro Chicken Caesar Salad reportedly made persons sick in Maryland but did not account for those who became ill in other U.S. states, according to the CDC. An unopened package of this product from the home of an infected person also tested positive for E. coli. The Ministry of Health’s Surveillance Unit have no reports of illnesses to date from these recalled products. Consumers usually become ill from E. coli 3 to 4 days after ingesting contaminated food with symptoms of vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea (often bloody). Most persons will recover within a week with the exception of those who develop severe infections.
Persons who believe they may have consumed any of the recalled products are asked to visit the nearest clinic. A day later, a second lettuce recall on November 22, 2019 was again, due to the E. coli outbreak. The CDC announced that 40 persons have been sickened with 28 requiring hospitalization. Consumers were urged to avoid lettuce grown in the Salinas Valley region in California.
The CDC advises that any lettuce (whole heads, hearts, pre-cut packaged) and salad mixes (baby romaine, spring mix, Caesar) from this region are to be thrown out and not eaten. Consumers can identify recalled lettuce from the Salinas valley region by checking the label on the lettuce packaging.
Consumers are urged to practice these food safety principles to prevent food-borne illnesses:
a. Wash their hands thoroughly in warm, soapy, potable running water;
b. Clean and sanitize the food preparation area;
c. Keep raw meats separate from raw, ready to eat foods such as lettuce;
d. Cook foods at the right temperature for the right time;
e. Cover and refrigerate left overs at the correct temperature; and
f. Use a good source of raw products and potable water (important when rinsing lettuce).