Salad! It’s so healthy and great for you. Unless, of course, it contains Salmonella, in which case it can put you in a world of discomfort, hurt, and possibly death. Dole, however, wants to protect its consumers from this unfortunate fate, and have voluntarily recalled 756 cases of DOLE® Seven Lettuces salad mixes, according to the FDA.
No consumers have been sickened by the offending salad yet, but during a random sampling of products, this particular lot of bagged lettuce did test positive for the illness-causing bacteria, which prompted the recall.
If you live in the 15 states that the Dole salad recall impacts, and have recently purchased a bag that looks like the one pictured, be sure to check the sell-by date and UPC code against the information provided by the FDA in this press release. The states are as follows: Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
If you’re not sure if your particular product may be from the included lots, it’s better to err on the side of caution and bring it back to the store where you bought it, or just throw it out.
Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and can headache. In the elderly or young children, or those with compromised immune systems, it can result in death. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating what may have been contaminated lettuce, it’s important to seek medical attention, to ensure that your sickness is linked to the outbreak, and does not go unreported.
On their site, Dole states that the salad is considered “ready-to-eat,” and thus, washing is “unnecessary.” But this is a good reminder of something that food safety lawyer Bill Marler noted in our interview with him last month: that commercial salad and lettuce growing and bagging practices often lead to cross-contamination long before they make it to grocery store shelves. Contact with lettuces from other farms, or with other potential pathogens (like e.Coli on sprouts, or, in this case, Salmonella, which usually comes from animals). Which is why it’s always a good idea to wash your vegetables. Washing can’t always remove pathogens, but it is a good first line of defense against bacteria.
For more information about this and other recalls, check out the FDA’s food safety information center.