The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced the recall of shredded romaine and iceberg lettuce after samples tested positive for the deadly listeria bacteria. California-based True Leaf Farms expanded its recall of chopped romaine lettuce to include nearly 2,500 cartons distributed to 21 states as well as Canada. The tainted lettuce was shipped between September 12 and 13 and was sold in states including Alaska, Arizona, and New York. This recall was soon followed by the recall of shredded iceberg lettuce following a separate positive test for listeria. The FDA contacted Giant Eagle, Inc. when the Ohio Department of Agriculture discovered Listeria monocytogenes during a random test. This lettuce was also traced to a California distributor, River Ranch Fresh Foods. Packages containing shredded iceberg lettuce, Parisian blend, leafy romaine, romaine garden, American blend and garden supreme salads have all been recalled, along with several deli sandwiches containing shredded lettuce.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most common symptoms of listeriosis are fever, muscle aches and diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems, and it is particularly dangerous to the elderly, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women. It can grow at room temperature and at cooler temperatures, like in the refrigerator. The listeria bacteria recently was recently blamed in a multi-state outbreak associated with tainted cantaloupes. At last count, 13 people had died and 72 had been made ill in 18 states after consuming cantaloupes grown by a Colorado farm. Customers who purchased the tainted lettuce are urged to return or destroy the lettuce immediately.