Home Front Page Deadly listeria forces Whole Foods to recall salads

Deadly listeria forces Whole Foods to recall salads

Whole Foods has been forced to recall two types of salads in East Coast markets due to listeria contamination.

By CDC/Dr. Balasubr Swaminathan; Peggy Hayes (PHIL #2286) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month we reported that Whole Foods was being forced to recall a popular brand of blue cheese due to listeria contamination. Now, the popular high-end retail chain is being forced to launch yet another recall, this time involving salads.

In total, some 230 pounds of food is being recalled, a relatively small amount. If you have purchased these products, you should throw them out or return them to the store immediately.

The salads being recalled are bulk and packaged Curry Chicken Salad and Classic Deli Pasta Salads. The salads were sold in the East Coast markets, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Whole Foods has been struggling with a rash of recalls this year. In October alone, the company was forced to issue four recalls. Besides the aforementioned blue cheese recall, Whole Foods has also issued recalls for Cheerios, Skipanon canned seafoods, and now salads.

Given Whole Foods brand reputation for higher quality, safer products, the company is moving quickly to protect its brand and recall the affected products. Still, with the retailer already facing criticism over high prices, the recalls aren’t doing the company any favors.

Listeria is a deadly form of bacteria that severely sickens approximately 1,600 people and results in 260 casualties annually. The elderly, children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems are considered to be the most vulnerable.

Case death rates of 20 percent or more are common. While not everyone will be sickened, even if exposed to listeria, those who do develop symptoms are often hospitalized.

Healthy adults are rarely sickened by the bacteria. So far, no illnesses have been reported, but a long incubation period makes monitoring the disease difficult.

It is unclear what caused the most recent outbreak, but the FDA confirmed the presence of the bacteria through several tests. Both chicken and vegetables can be a source of listeria.

In order to avoid listeria contamination, it is advised that you cook meats thoroughly, and you wash fruits and vegetables before consumption.

The deadliest outbreak in the United States in recent memory was caused by cantaloupes in 2011. An estimated 144 people were sickened by the contaminated cantaloupes, and as a result 30 people ended up dying.

Criminal charges were eventually brought against the owners of the Rocky Ford company responsible for the outbreak.