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Fresh Express issues precautionary recall after Salmonella finding

by Joan Murphy | May 25, 2010
WASHINGTON -- Fresh Express announced a May 25 recall of ready-to-eat salads after the Food & Drug Administration found Salmonella in a random test.

Salmonella was confirmed in a single package of Fresh Express "Hearts of Romaine Salad" during routine sampling, according to the Salinas, CA-based firm. The company is recalling 27 different products, even though the ready- to-eat salads are labeled with expired use-by dates of May 13-16.

"Because it is still possible that products bearing the use-by dates of May 13-16 and an 'S' in the Product Code could be on store shelves, this recall extends to retailers as well as consumers," the company said in a May 24 press release.

FDA informed the company May 21 of the Salmonella findings, and the company's team spent the weekend drafting a recall plan and checking traceability records for May 13-16, said Barbara Hines, spokesperson for Fresh Express. "The company called all of its customers, and none of them had the product in inventory or on store shelves."

Ms. Hines confirmed that the company sourced its leafy greens from Salinas.

Fresh Express boasts a very comprehensive food safety program that goes beyond the requirements of the California leafy greens marketing agreement, according to Ms. Hines. "In reviewing our records, the practices were in place, and no abnormalities were discovered," she said.

On May 25, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency also issued a recall alert, saying that the products were distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec and may have been distributed nationally.

No illnesses have been reported with the products, confirmed FDA officials.