January 10, 2022 | Susan Napier-Sewell

FDA & CDC Investigate Packaged Salad in Multistate Listeria Outbreak

Listeria

The FDA and CDC, in collaboration with state and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections, stemming from packaged salad.

According to the CDC, as of December 21, 2021, 10 people infected from packaged salad with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from eight states.

Map of U.S. Distribution of Recalled Packaged Salad

As a part of routine sampling, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) collected a product sample of Fresh Express Sweet Hearts salad mix with a Use-By-Date of December 8, 2021, for testing. The sample tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and subsequent whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis determined that the Listeria monocytogenes present in the samples matches the strain that has caused illnesses in this outbreak.

Do not eat, sell, or serve recalled packaged salad; FDA investigation ongoing

In response to the sample results and the ongoing outbreak investigation, Fresh Express voluntarily ceased production at the Streamwood, Illinois, facility and initiated a recall of certain varieties of its branded and private label salad products produced at the company’s Streamwood, Illinois, facility. The recall includes all Use-By Dates of fresh salad items with product codes Z324 through Z350. Product codes are located on the front of the packages below the Use-By Date. No other Fresh Express products are subject to recall. A full list of recalled products is available on FDA’s website.

FDA and CDC are currently investigating two separate Listeria outbreaks linked to packaged salad. This outbreak is linked to packaged salads produced by Fresh Express. The other outbreak is linked to packaged salads produced by Dole. These investigations are ongoing, and additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Recommendations: Do not eat, sell, or serve recalled packaged salads

Consumers, restaurants, and retailers, should not eat, sell, or serve recalled packaged salads. A full list of recalled products is available on FDA’s website.

The FDA recommends that anyone who received recalled products use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with these products to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.

About Listeria infections

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any recalled product and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for the food poisoning symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

Case counts

Total Illnesses: 10
Hospitalizations: 10
Deaths: 1
Last Illness Onset: October 19, 2021
States with Cases: IL, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA

Useful links

Who to contact

Consumers who have symptoms should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care.

To report a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction), you can:

Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration, “Outbreak Investigation of Listeria monocytogenes: Fresh Express Packaged Salad (December 2021).”

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