Classic Salads of Salinas, CA is voluntarily recalling 4lb., 2lb. and 10 oz. Baby Spinach and 4lb., 3lb., 1.5lb., Spring Mix, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain 12 to 72 hours after infection. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
Baby Spinach/Spring Mix was distributed nationwide, as well as Canada and Japan, to foodservice, institutions and distributors.
Classic Salad’s Baby Spinach and Spring Mix are packed in clear plastic bags with a stamped Lot Code number of 1502XXX indicating that it was processed on July 24th, 2006. Master cartons bear the “Classic Salads”, “Classic Choice”, “Classic Greens”, “Sir Lancelot”, “Taste of the Valley”, “US Fresh” and “Valley Gold” labels and a Pallet ID Number is stamped in black ink on the exterior of the carton that is unique to each pallet. Baby Spinach pack sizes include: 4lb., 2x2lb., 12x10oz. Spring Mix pack sizes include: 5x3lb., 4x3lb., 3lb., 3x1lb., 2×1.5lb., 12x7oz.
Outbreaks associated with lettuce or spinach, specifically the “pre-washed” and “ready-to-eat” varieties sold under various brand and trade names, are by no means a new phenomenon.
In October 2003, 13 residents of a California retirement center were sickened and 2 died after eating E. coli-contaminated “pre-washed” spinach.
In September 2003, nearly 40 patrons of a California restaurant chain became ill after eating salads prepared with bagged, “pre-washed” lettuce.
In July 2002, over 50 young women were stricken with E. coli at a dance camp after eating “pre-washed” lettuce, leaving several hospitalized, and 1 with life-long kidney damage.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that of 225 food-poisoning outbreaks from 1990 to 1998, nearly 20 percent (55 outbreaks) were linked to fresh fruits, vegetables or salads.
It is clear that the risks associated with E. coli O157:H7 AND Salmonella and lettuce were well known to the industry prior to this recall. For the last several years, the FDA had been aggressively trying to get the industry to address serious ongoing deficiencies it saw as creating a serious risk to consumers. Apparently, the industry has not responded.