In a random test conducted by an FDA laboratory, one packet of Fresh Express brand Hearts of Romaine salad tested positive for E coli. Now the company, Fresh Express, Inc., based in California, has recalled all salad products with a use-by date of July 8 through July 12 and an “S” in the product code. By now, these dates are expired.

After hearing of this positive test result, Fresh Express did a traceability assessment and a review of its food safety documentation. All was found to be compliant with the company’s safety program and no sign was found of any pathogens being present. Their safety program begins in the fields before anything is planted and continues through the growth of the crop, harvesting, manufacturing, shipping and delivery.

E coli and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

No other Fresh Express salads are being recalled. To be more specific, the tested packet tested positive for E coli 0157:H7. It is a bacterium that can cause serious illness with infection and symptoms that include abdominal pain, vomiting, and severe diarrhea that can be bloody.

Since most healthy adults recover from this illness in a week or so, the people most at risk are children and the elderly. They could develop a condition called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) which can cause serious kidney damage and even death.

Because this possibility is so serious, Fresh Express is being extremely cautious in recalling all these salad packets. The packets should be discarded including the plastic container itself. To see the full list of recalled products, please visit this FDA web page.

Protect Yourself and Your Family

You can protect yourself from pathogens in vegetables by washing the products before you use them. A quick rinse under the tap is not enough.
•Use a product designed to kill bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Many supermarkets sell such products, as well as independent outlets.
•Do not use chlorine (bleach), as it forms several carcinogenic compounds in the body.
•Make your own veggie wash easily by putting a few drops of Lugol’s iodine in a bowl of water. Put enough to color the water slightly and leave the vegetables in this solution for one minute. They will not absorb any flavor or color from the iodine but all pathogens will be killed.

Also be sure you wash your hands well before handling any food and keep your nails short and clean. With a little time and effort, we can cheaply and effectively protect ourselves from food-borne pathogens and do not need to rely on government regulations or company safety protocols, although of course these are important and valuable.

If you have been harmed by a defective product, we can help with your legal situation. Please call or email our office in Mobile, Alabama for a free case evaluation.

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