US authorities sound the alarm of Listeria outbreak

Posted: 22 December 2021 | | No comments yet

Deputy Commissioner of the FDA Frank Yiannas has issued a warning to consumers over an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes reportedly linked to a brand of salad mix.

salad mix

Health authorities in the US have warned consumers of a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes related to salad. Consumers are being urged not to eat the particular brand of salad implicated in the outbreak, while retailers and hospitality venues are similarly being told not to sell or serve it.

Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the below statement to warn consumers of the potential dangers of the outbreak.

“The FDA, along with the CDC and our state and local partners, is working to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections. To date, a positive sample of Fresh Express Sweet Hearts salad mix has been reported to match the outbreak strain. Fresh Express has voluntarily recalled products and consumers are advised not to eat, sell or serve any recalled products. Our investigation is ongoing, and we will continue to communicate should additional products be implicated,” he said.

“Ten people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from eight states. A sample of Fresh Express prepackaged romaine and sweet butter lettuce was collected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as part of their routine sampling efforts. The sample tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and was a match to the outbreak strain. Given this, Fresh Express voluntarily ceased production at their Streamwood, Illinois, facility and initiated a recall of certain varieties of its branded and private label salads produced in that facility.

“We will continue to work with our partners and with Fresh Express to determine the source of this outbreak. We remain committed to transparency and providing updates as we learn more during our continuing traceback investigation.”

A serious E.coli outbreak is fresh in the mind of US authorities, after just over 200 people were infected with the bacteria via romaine lettuce back in 2018. Efforts have been undertaken to reduce the food safety risk posed by salads, but experts will be watching this latest food safety outbreak closely to ensure it does not have the same effect as its 2018 counterpart.

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