The California-based company issued the voluntary recall Wednesday after a sample of its Dole Italian Blend taken by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture tested positive for Listeria.
The sample was collected as a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Microbiological Data Program (MDP), a small federal program that provides funding to 11 state agencies for produce surveillance.
While MDP was responsible for collecting the sample, it did not conduct the Listeria test.
“We at North Carolina did not do the testing on their product,” Daniel Ragan, Director of the Food & Drug Protection Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, told Food Safety News. However, “The sample was collected through the USDA’s Microbiological Data Program,” he confirmed.
MDP was slated to be shut down in July of this year after being zeroed out in the Obama Administration’s 2013 budget proposal, but USDA decided to extend the program until the end of the year after media attention prompted a public demand to keep it going.
Product subject to this recall — the fourth recall prompted by MDP testing this month — is marked with UPC code 7143000819, located on the back of the package below the bar code, and bears a use-by date of August 20. The salads were sold in 10 oz. bags coded 0049N2202008.
They were distributed in 8 U.S. states, including Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
No illnesses have been linked to consumption of this product to date.
Although the product is now 3 days past its use-by date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking retailers to check their inventories and store shelves to confirm that none of the recalled product is in the warehouse or available to customers.
Dole Fresh Vegetables has contacted retailers to which the salads were distributed and is in the process of ensuring that the recalled product is taken off the market.© Food Safety News