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Food Safety News

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Listeria Test Causes Iceberg Lettuce Recall

Giant Eagle, the Pittsburgh-based grocery chain, is recalling bags of shredded Iceberg lettuce and some deli sandwiches because they may be contaminated with Listeria.

The Food and Drug Administration informed the company that a random sample of Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market 8-ounce package of Shredded Iceberg Lettuce, produced by River Ranch Fresh Foods, of Salinas, CA, had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

There are no reports of illnesses connected to the lettuce.

The recalled packages of shredded iceberg lettuce have a use-by date of Oct. 14, 2011 and the UPC 3003430195.

The recalled lettuce was also used in some prepared deli ring sandwiches:

—  Giant Eagle Large Italian Sandwich Ring, UPC 23755100000

—  Giant Eagle Mini Italian Sandwich Ring, UPC 24755500000

—  Giant Eagle Large New York Sandwich Ring, UPC 22755100000

—  Giant Eagle Mini New York Sandwich Ring, UPC 25755500000

—  Giant Eagle Large All America Sandwich Ring, UPC 21755100000

—  Giant Eagle Mini All American Sandwich Ring, UPC 26755500000

Giant Eagle said it has contacted customers who purchased the recalled products, telling them throw the food away or return it to the store for a refund.

Giant Eagle Advantage Card holders are encouraged to update contact information if their mailing address or phone number has recently changed. Call 1-800-474-4777.

Listeria is typically found in deli meats, hot dogs and soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk. But the bacteria can also contaminate produce, as evidenced by the current outbreak linked to whole cantaloupes from Colorado.

Last week, Church Brothers of Salinas, CA. recalled 2,498 cartons of chopped or shredded romaine because it might be contaminated with Listeria. That recall was not connected to any illnesses. The random check that detected Listeria in a single bag of romaine was part of an FDA research program to understand the prevalence of the bacteria in produce, particularly lettuce and leafy greens.

© Food Safety News
  • Raymond James

    Reading this article I noticed the title “Is It Time To Accept Food Irradiation ?” under the most read box. If after we conduct screening to determine how wide spread Listeria is and find it in almost every field we may decide it is time.
    Our past practice was to say since no one has gotten sick from ______ then it is not here /not a problem. As we start testing/looking for organisms we will find them. The new problem will then be what to do about it.
    Nothing and accept illness and deaths or look to irradiation for foods that cannot be cooked or frozen (for parisites) as a kill step.
    I do not belive we have more food borne illnesses I think that our labratory response network is finding and linking more cases. As we start to do the environmental sampling in fields, packing sheds, transport vehicles we will find more contaiminated fields and equipment.

  • Art Davis

    Guess what???? You keep looking for Listeria monocytogenes on leafy greens and you are going to find it from time to time. The question is what is the value of that information? Possibly knowing the approximate frequency of occurrence would be useful to determine the effectiveness of some future mitigation step or perhaps enough data will be accumulated to determine that some particular area or farm within an area is a particular “Hotspot”. I think either of these is unlikely given the relatively low level of testing being done and the relative infrequency of positive findings. It would be interesting to know just what FDA plans to do with the data and at what point in time they think they might have enough accumulated to pursue their goal. In the meantime I expect continued occasional recalls that accomplish very little in terms of public protection and possibly blunt the overall effectiveness of the recall procedure as folks get used to and begin to ignore FDA “Crying Wolf” to no effect.