Here's another reason to make your own lunch: Freshway Food is conducting a voluntary recall of products containing romaine lettuce sold under the Freshway and Imperial Sysco brand. These products were sold to food service outlets, wholesale and in-store retail salad bars and delis and are being recalled due to a potential Escherichia coli O145 bacteria (E. coli O145) contamination.
Caroline Smith DeWaal, Food Safety Director for The Center for Science in the Public Interest, wrote in a statement, "Freshway is conducting this recall on a voluntary basis, because – even with the presence of this serious food safety hazard – FDA lacks the ability to order a recall. Giving the FDA mandatory recall authority is another reason why the Senate should bring S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, to the floor without further delay."
According to the FDA's statement, "the recalled romaine lettuce products were sold to wholesalers and food service outlets in the following states east of the Mississippi river: Alabama, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The recalled romaine products were also sold for distribution to in-store salad bars and delis for Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets, and Marsh stores in the states listed." Consumers who did purchase romaine at the in-store salad bars or delis listed should throw the product away.
Other than salad bars and delis, the recall does not include any romaine lettuce that an individual consumer might purchase in a supermarket. So go ahead and make yourself a salad, but it's important to remember to wash your fruits and vegetables well, recall or not. Take a look at our tips for Preventing Food-Borne Illness before you dig into your homemade salad.