Saturday, October 1, 2011


I feel as though I am repeating myself. Last night I blogged the expanding cantaloupe recall. Now I am blogging the expanding bagged, chopped, ready-to-eat Romaine lettuce one. Both involve the potentially-deadly Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

But I will say that at least the recall expansion in the lettuce case didn't come weeks after the first alert and recall - only a day. Much better. Also, it came at the FDA's urging - not because of bad record keeping.

Down to the facts. Here is what is happening. On September 29, True Leaf Farms issued a recall for 90 cartons of chopped romaine because Listeria monocytogenes turned up during testing of it. The recalled product was shipped between September 12 and 13, with a use-by date of September 29 - the date of the recall. Notice again how FDA testing results come far too late, especially for fresh produce, which tends to be eaten quickly. But I will add, that the company acted as soon as it got the results of the FDA testing.

The lettuce went to an institutional food service distributor (Church Brothers) in Oregon who further distributed it to at least two additional states, Washington and Idaho.

The next day's update expanded the recall to cover 2498 cartons of lettuce, to include additional product shipped to wholesale food service distributors in 19 more states - and to Alberta, Canada. The U.S. states include Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Vermont.

Three notes:
- Listeria monocytogenes turns up quite often in lettuce and leafy greens, especially ready-to-eat kind, and the FDA is trying to find out why. So this is a fairly typical recall.
- This recall has nothing to do with the ongoing cantaloupe one.
- The recall notice says that no illnesses have been connected to it - yet. (See my earlier post on this issue).

To your good health,

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