Beware of Bagged Lettuce!

LettuceBefore you buy another bag of prepared, pre-washed lettuce, read this article.

According to an article by health writer David Wolfe, one person in Michigan has died after eating bagged lettuce. Twelve more people, ages from three to eighty-three, have been sickened by a listeria outbreak that has been sourced to a Dole facility in Ohio.

FoodSafety.gov says:

Listeria is the name of a bacteria found in soil and water and some animals, including poultry and cattle. It can be present in raw milk and foods made from raw milk. It can also live in food processing plants and contaminate a variety of processed meats.

Listeria is unlike many other germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the refrigerator. Listeria is killed by cooking and pasteurization.

…Listeriosis, an infection caused by Listeria, can pose major risks for certain populations. Namely, pregnant women, older adults, and individuals with weakened immune systems are at greater risk.

Listeriosis can present with symptoms ranging from a fever, chills, intense headache and flu-like symptoms, up to and including septic shock, meningitis and encephalitis. These can be life-threatening.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has listed the following brand names of lettuce as potentially dangerous:

  • Dole
  • Fresh Selections
  • Simple Truth
  • Marketside
  • The Little Salad Bar
  • President’s Choice Organics

The affected packages are stamped an “A” at the beginning of the manufacturing code on the package.

What should you do?

If you bought a bag of salad with one of those brand names, that is stamped with a manufacturing number that begins with an “A,” immediately throw away the package, wash out your fridge thoroughly, as well as any counters, cutting boards or utensils that the lettuce may have touched.

If you have eaten the lettuce, be sure and check in with our doctor even if you have no apparent symptoms. Listeriosis can take as along as two months following consumption of the affected food to develop. Generally, however, the symptoms will appear within a few days.