May 24, 2010 – Salinas, California – Fresh Express, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chiquita Brands International, is voluntarily recalling a specific selection of Fresh Express Romaine-based ready-to-eat salads with the expired Use-by Dates of May 13th through May 16th and an "S" in the Product Code because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The recall extends only to products with these Use-by Dates and Product Codes and sold in the following states: Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota. No other Fresh Express salads are included in the recall.
The recall notification is being issued out of an abundance of caution based on an isolated instance in which a single package of Fresh Express Hearts of Romaine Salad with a use by date of May 15 was confirmed positive for Salmonella in a random sample test conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Salmonella is an organism that may cause fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and possibly bloody diarrhea in healthy individuals. It can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Consumers with these symptoms should consult their health care provider.
Because it is still possible that products bearing the Use-by Dates of May 13th -16th and an "S" in the Product Code could be on store shelves, this recall extends to retailers as well as consumers. Fresh Express’ experience is that it is highly unlikely that any of the potentially affected salads are still on store shelves or for sale to consumers due to the expired Use-by Dates. Fresh Express believes that it is important to alert consumers who might still possess one of the potentially affected expired salads to immediately dispose of it.
Fresh Express is collaborating closely with FDA and immediately upon learning of the single confirmed positive test completed a companywide product traceability review.
Salads included in the recall notification include the specific selection of Fresh Express Romaine-based salads listed below with Use-by Dates of May 13th through May 16th and an "S" in the Produce Code. No other Fresh Express salads are included in the recall.
Instructions for Consumers:
Check your refrigerator for Fresh Express Romaine-based salads with use-by dates of May 13th through May 16th and an "S" in the Product Code. The Use-by Date is found in the upper right hand corner of the package with the Product Code located immediately underneath. For Fresh Express Gourmet Café Salads, the Use-by Date and Product Code are located on the bottom of the salad bowl.
Consumers who may have potentially affected product are asked to make a note of the Use-by Date and Product Code, immediately dispose of the product, and contact a Fresh Express consumer representative toll-free at (800) 242-5472, 24 hours per day, Monday – Friday, to obtain a full refund.
Instructions for Retailers:
All Product Codes indicated are well-beyond their Use-by Date, however, retailers are asked to reconfirm with their distribution centers and all individual stores to ensure that no product remains in their inventory or at store locations. A separate letter and instructions will be forwarded to all relevant Fresh Express customers. For additional details, retailers are asked to contact their Fresh Express customer service representative.