Late last month, the CDC issued a warning that sounded very familiar to anyone who remembers the widespread romaine lettuce recalls from 2018. Scientists had identified a strain of E. coli in lettuce from the Salinas Valley, California, growing region. This was obviously bad news for anyone who was hoping to incorporate romaine lettuce into their holiday dishes, but it’s also a sign of a troubling trend.
Now, a separate warning over potentially contaminated lettuce has been issued by the CDC, this time linking a strain of E. coli to popular pre-chopped salad kits. The kits, which are sold under the brand name Fresh Express, are sold across several states and have already resulted in multiple confirmed E. coli infections and hospitalizations.
The most important piece of information from the CDC’s new bulletin on the outbreak reads as follows:
Do not eat or sell Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits with this identifying information: UPC 0 71279 30906 4, beginning with lot code Z, and a best-before date up to and including 07DEC19. This information is printed on the front of the bag in the top right corner.
The CDC advises anyone with this product in their fridge or pantry to discard it immediately, regardless of whether or not someone in your household has eaten some of it already and appears to be well. Additionally, the CDC advises that you thoroughly wash any storage containers, utensils, or dishware that may have come into contact with the salad.
If you’ve eaten some of this potentially tainted product and think you’re coming down with an illness, contact your doctor immediately and advise them of the circumstances and recall notice. Those who come down with an E. coli infection typically begin feeling ill within a few days, and the illness can last for several days. Treatment is sometimes necessary in individuals with weakened immune systems, children, and the elderly.
Put simply, it’s probably a good idea to just not trust any lettuce right now. The E. coli outbreak linked to lettuce harvested in the Salina Valley growing region is definitely off limits, and these salad kits should be treated with equal caution.