Two listeriosis outbreaks linked to packaged salads have caused at least three deaths and led to the hospitalization of 22 people in U.Sthe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned on Thursday.
One of the outbreaks is related to the firm’s products Fresh Express and has caused 10 people to be hospitalized in 8 states, of which one died.
The other outbreak was linked to similar products from the firm Dole. In this case, 16 infected people have been registered in 13 states, with 10 hospitalized and 2 deaths.
Listeriosis is an infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, and the CDC estimates that about 1,600 people in the US become ill from this cause each year, of which 260 die.
The infection is more likely to affect pregnant women and their newborns, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems.
“Interviews with sick people and laboratory data show that packaged salads, Fresh Express brand, can be contaminated and make people sick,” the agency noted.
Last Monday, the Fresh Express firm announced that it was recalling several of its salads including the brands Fresh Express, Bowl & Basket, Giant Eagle, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, O Organics, Signature Farms, Simply Nature, Weis Fresh from the Field and Wellsley Farms Organic.
The agency also warned that recent epidemiological and laboratory data indicate that packaged salads produced by Dole could also be contaminated.
On Wednesday, Dole recalled several of its prepared salads including the Ahold, Dole, Kroger, Lidl, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, Naturally Better, Nature’s Promise and Simply Nature brands.
The CDC advised the public not to eat these salads and to throw them away or return them to the market where they were purchased. He also advised cleaning the refrigerators and surfaces that have been in contact with salads.
“Listeria can survive in the refrigerator and spreads easily to other foods and surfaces,” the CDC added.