Certain brands of fresh ready-to-eat salads that include chicken or ham may also contain lettuce contaminated with listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Revolution Farms of Caledonia, Michigan, voluntarily recalled lettuce produced and sold under the brand Revolution Farms on April 5, 2023, due to the potential for listeria contamination.
However, lettuce from that recall was used to create ready-to-eat salads under the brand names “Fruit Ridge Farms” and “Bell’s Bistro,” according to a FSIS public health alert issued Monday.
The salads were shipped to retail locations in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
As yet, no confirmed reports of adverse reactions have been reported, however the FSIS is “concerned some products may be in consumers’ refrigerators,” according to the alert.
“Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase,” the alert advised.
The potentially contaminated products are “Fruit Ridge Farms White Chicken Caesar Salad”; “Fruit Ridge Farms Chef Salad with Ham”; “Bell’s Bistro White Chicken Caesar Salad”; and “Bell’s Bistro Chef Salad with Ham.”
Consumers can also identify the salads by looking for the numbers “EST. 17050” or “P-17050,” which should appear inside the USDA mark of inspection on the item, the alert said.
Listeria is a hardy germ, so determined to stick around that it can continue to grow while refrigerated, which even its fellow foodborne bacterial threats salmonella and E. coli cannot do.
Listeria contamination can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects pregnant people and newborns, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.
In the United States, listeria is the third leading cause of death from foodborne illness, killing about 260 people a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Even with adequate antibiotic treatment, the disease has a high mortality rate” of 20% to 30%, the US Food and Drug Administration said.
Pregnant people are about 10 times more likely to become sick from listeria, and the illness can be fatal to a fetus. Pregnant Hispanics are at highest risk, likely due to eating traditional soft cheeses such as queso fresco and other foods made with milk that is unpasteurized, the FDA said. Foods made with raw milk are 50 to 160 times more likely to contain listeria, the agency said.
Adults and healthy children with listeria infections may simply develop a mild or unpleasant illness that will not require hospitalization or antibiotics. However, anyone immunocompromised — including older adults, organ transplant patients, and those with cancer, kidney disease, diabetes or HIV/AIDS — can become seriously ill and die.