Consumers have been warned against eating a selection of pre-packed lettuce products grown and distributed by the Victorian-based company Tripod Farmers following confirmation of a number of cases of salmonella infection.

The lettuce is sold through both Coles and Woolworths supermarkets and includes brands such as; Coles 4 Leaf Mix, Woolworths salad mix, SupaSalad Supamix and Wash N Toss salad mix.

All these products have best before dates leading up to and including February 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services Senior Medical Advisor Dr Finn Romanes said people with these products should either return them to the place of purchase or discard them.

Dr Romanes said the links between the product and illness in Victorians had been made because of a higher than usual number of cases of the Salmonella anatum strain.

“Normally we only see a handful of cases of this strain each year, but so far this year there have been 28 adult cases of Salmonella anatum – mostly adults – notified to the Department.

“As a result of following up the food histories of a number of people we have discovered a common source – the Tripod Farmers lettuce,” Dr Romanes said.

“Tests of three products from two batches have also tested positive for Salmonella anatum bacterium,” he said.

Tripod Farmers is issuing a national voluntary product recall for these products and there will be ongoing testing and monitoring of all products from the company.

An inspection of the premises has been undertaken and a full and thorough clean-up has been carried out.

Salmonellosis is a form of gastroenteritis caused by the germ (bacterium) Salmonella and can affect anyone.

The severity of symptoms depends on the number of bacteria ingested, age and general health.

The elderly, those with another medical condition (such as a weakened immune system) or are malnourished are more prone to the illness.

Symptoms of salmonellosis usually occur between 6 to 72 hours after the bacteria is ingested. The most common symptoms include: diarrhoea, which may contain blood or mucous; fever; headache; stomach cramps; nausea; vomiting, and dehydration, especially among infants and the elderly.

In rare cases, septicaemia (local infection) may develop as a complication of salmonellosis.