As the days get busier and busier right before the holidays, being able to put a healthy meal on the table in a hurry is a huge help — and pre-washed, ready-to-eat salad is a staple in many of our kitchens for this very reason. If you recently bought a bag, however, check the label ASAP. The FDA recently announced a salad recall on Fresh Express products sold in 19 states.
The Fresh Express recall affects certain products that came from a facility in Streamwood, Illinois. According to the FDA, the Michigan Department of Agriculture initiated the recall when a package of Sweet Hearts Salad Mix tested positive for the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. Fresh Express immediately stopped production at the Illinois facility and began a complete sanitation review.
What is listeria monocytogenes?
Listeria monocytogenes is a species of bacteria that likes to grow in moist environments. It tends to multiply in soil, water, and decaying vegetation, and can even grow on refrigerated and preserved foods (yuck).
L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that develops after eating contaminated food. Symptoms of listeriosis (which can last from days to weeks) include:
- Muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting
In severe but rare cases, a person might develop a prolonged headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and even convulsions. Listeriosis is more dangerous for pregnant women, newborns, elderly people, and those who have a weakened immune system from a chronic disease.
Which products are affected by the salad recall?
Worried that you bought a product made by Fresh Express? The FDA created a comprehensive list of products that you should throw away, based on the name, product code, and UPC code (bar code). The names of Fresh Express items to look out for include:
- Bowl & Basket (sold at Shop Rite)
- Fresh Express
- Giant Eagle (sold at Giant Eagle)
- Little Salad Bar (sold at Aldi)
- Market District (only the Kale Caesar Salad Kit)
- Marketside (sold at Walmart)
- O Organics
- Signature Farms (sold at Acme, Kings, and Safeway in California, though California was not affected by the recall)
- Simply Nature (sold at Aldi)
- Weis Fresh (sold at Weis Markets)
- Wellsley Farms (sold at Walmart and BJ’s Wholesale Club)
Affected states include: Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.
Can I get my money back?
Yes! If you bought a product on the FDA’s “throw away” list, you may be able to get a refund. Visit the grocery store where you purchased the salad to see if they will give you your money back. Otherwise, call the Fresh Express Consumer Response Center at (800) 242-5472. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.
Here’s to not getting sick right before the holidays!