October 4, 2005
The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat a certain prepackaged salad for fear of a deadly infection. This popular side dish caused an outbreak of E. Coli.
At least 11 people have gotten sick and 2 people have been hospitalized after eating salad that was contaminated with E. Coli.
This Minnesota outbreak was caused by a batch of Dole's prepackaged salads with the 'best if used by' date of September 23. But, the salads carrying the same product codes have been distributed to grocery stores across the U.S., prompting the FDA to issue a warning.
"The public health message is really to take due precautions when protecting yourself against this potentially life threatening illness," said Roy Crewz, of the Charlottesville Health Department.
Stores probably aren't carrying these salads on their shelves anymore, but people might have them at their home. Experts said to wash the lettuce as thoroughly as possible with cleaning tools and if you don't think that's clean enough experts say to toss it.
"If [consumers] did a very thorough job of washing it before eating it, the chances are [that] there would be a much less risk [of E. Coli contamination] than had they not properly washed everything. However, there is always a chance," said Crewz.
It does say it is pre-washed and ready to eat on the back of the package yet over a dozen people were still infected with E. Coli. Experts recommend that consumers can never be too cautious.
"Make sure [the manufacturers] didn't miss it because it is difficult to get the bacteria off of produce. Because of that, you have to be even more cognizant of the fact that it could actually be there and it could present some pretty serious consequences," said Crewz.
If the E. Coli virus is contracted, most healthy adults recover within a wee. Children under 5-years-old, and the elderly are at risk of complications that can lead to kidney damage, or even death.