FDA Issues Alert About Some Dole Salads

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Food and Drug Administration is cautioning consumers to avoid eating certain pre-packaged salads made by Dole Food Co., because 11 people here were sickened by a serious food-borne illness linked to the products.

Two of the victims were hospitalized because of the E. coli 0157:H7 illness they might have contracted from the salads, the FDA said in a statement. The latest incident of illness was reported on Sept. 19, and was associated with consumption of Dole salad products purchased from grocery store chain Rainbow Foods, in its Minnesota locations. However, salad products containing the affected production codes are also distributed nationwide.

Eric Schwartz, president of Salinas, Calif.-based Dole's fresh vegetables division, said, "Our over riding concern is for consumer safety. We are working with the FDA, the Minnesota Department of Health and the California Department of Health Services to determine the source of the contamination."

The three prepackaged salad products involved are:

Classic Romaine -- with a "best-if-used-by (BIUB)" date of Sept. 23, 2005 and a production code beginning with "B250."

American Blend -- with a "best-if-used-by (BIUB)" date of Sept. 23, 2005 and a production code beginning with "B250."

Greener Selection -- with a "best-if-used-by (BIUB)" date of Sept. 22, 2005, and a production code beginning with "B250."

While it is unlikely that stores still have this product on their shelves, consumers might still have product in their refrigerators. FDA is advising consumers who have any of the three packaged salads listed to dispose of the product.

At this time, no other Dole salad products are involved, according to the FDA.

Dole Food Co., with 2004 revenues of $5.3 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh-cut flowers, as well as a growing line of packaged and frozen foods.
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