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FDA Issues Warning on Dole Salads

October 04, 2005|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to avoid eating certain prepackaged salads made by Dole Food Co. because 11 people in the Minneapolis area were sickened this month by a serious food-borne illness linked to the products.

Two of the victims were hospitalized because of the E. coli 0157:H7 illness, which they may have contracted from the salads, the FDA said.

"Given the severity of this illness, the FDA believes an urgent warning to consumers is needed," the agency said. The FDA is investigating the outbreak with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state officials.

The 11 illnesses are linked to consumption of Dole prepackaged salads from a single grocery store chain, Rainbow Foods, in its Minnesota locations. However, the salad products with the same production codes were distributed nationwide, the FDA said.

The FDA said the affected products are labeled as follows:

* Classic Romaine, with a best-if-used-by date of Sept. 23 and a production code beginning with B250.

* American Blend, with a best-if-used-by date of Sept. 23 and a production code beginning with B250.

* Greener Selection, with a best-if-used-by date of Sept. 22 and a production code beginning with B250.

The FDA said that although it was unlikely that any grocery stores still had this product on their shelves, consumers might have it in their refrigerators. Consumers who have any of the three packaged salads listed should dispose of the product.

Westlake Village-based Dole said it was cooperating with the federal investigation and recalled the products involved.

"Our overriding concern is for consumer safety. We are working with the U.S. FDA, the Minnesota Department of Health and the California Department of Health Services to determine the source of the contamination," Eric Schwartz, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables unit, said in a statement.

Symptoms of E. coli 0157:H7 include stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. The infection can be deadly for young children, the elderly and people with impaired immune systems or chronic illnesses.

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