Nearly 2,100 Cases of Romaine Lettuce Recalled for Possible E. coli

Nearly 2,100 cases of Romaine Lettuce are being recalled for potential Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. Coli O157:H7) contamination, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) just announced.

Tanimura & Antle Inc. recalled a single lot of its Romaine lettuce over the potential contamination; the recall is limited to Tanimura & Antle Field Fresh Wrapped Single Head Romaine. The Romaine was packed in a plastic bag with UPC 0-27918-20314-9 and the package may bear the Best Buy date “08 19 12.” The recalled Romaine was available at retail locations from August 2 through August 19, 2012.

The recall was based on testing of a random sample conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. A total of 2,095 cases of potentially affected product were distributed throughout the United States and Canada, beginning August 2; 1,969 cases were shipped to Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico.

The affected product was shipped in cases that were packed in either 12 or 18 heads per case. The firm advises retailers and distributors that they can identify the recalled Romaine via traceability code label (traceability code 5417802151) that is affixed to the case’s exterior. The firm advises consumers, retailers, or distributors in possession of the recalled Romaine lettuce to dispose of, and not consume, the product. Consumers with questions or who would like replacement coupons may call, toll-free, at 1.877.827.7388, 8:00 a.m. to  5:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), Monday-Friday.

E. coli are a group of bacteria found in animal intestines and feces. While some strains are necessary for digestion; some are harmful, deadly, and toxin producing and part of a group of E. coli called Verocytotoxigenic E. coli, or VTECs, also known as Shiga-producing E. coli, which may cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, and bloody stool; in the most severe cases, this infection can lead to kidney failure and death. Symptoms generally appear three to four days after exposure, but can take as long as nine days to manifest.

The infection sometimes causes hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious disease in which red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail. Infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk. Strain 0145 is a shiga-producing strain. The very young, seniors, and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to develop a food borne infection causes by the E. coli pathogen.

Meanwhile, we previously wrote that bulk Romaine lettuce was recalled by Pacific International Marketing for potential Salmonella contamination. That recall involved 19 cases of bulk Romaine lettuce sold from July 2-4, 2012.

Bagged salads have also been at the root of a number of Dole Fresh Vegetable recalls. In fact, Dole previously issued a recall of 2,598 cases of Dole Hearts of Romaine salad over potential contamination with the Listeria monocytogenes pathogen. We also recently wrote that Dole issued a recall for 1,077 cases of Romaine salads, also over potential Listeria contamination.

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