California romain lettuce recall over listeria concerns

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California romain lettuce recall over listeria concerns
(BDCi) –A lettuce grower is expanding a recall of chopped romaine because of possible listeria contamination to nearly 2,500 cartons across the United States, federal and company officials say.

The recall is unrelated to the recall of tainted cantaloupes after a deadly multi-state outbreak of listeria monocytogenes, said Food and Drug Administration press officer Tamara Ward.

True Leaf Farms, a processing arm of Salinas, California-based Church Brothers LLC, is voluntarily recalling romaine that was shipped between September 12 and 13 to a food service distributor in Oregon, who further sent it to at least two other states, Washington and Idaho, the company said in a release posted on the FDA website.

The two-pound bags also made their way to Alaska, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

The romaine lettuce affected by the recall has a September 29 use-by date, the company said in the release. Church Brothers was not immediately available for comment.

“Any time we find listeria in food we would consider that food adulterated and ask for a recall,” Karas said in an email. “The finding of listeria in romaine lettuce was a result of an FDA research program to understand the prevalence of listeria in fresh produce, particularly lettuce and leafy greens.”

Listeria rarely causes serious illness. For it to do so, the organism needs to get onto the food and grow to levels where it can cause disease. Because it can grow at low temperatures, that can happen anywhere along the food chain.

Listeria outbreaks are usually associated with deli meats, unpasteurized cheeses and smoked refrigerated seafood products, rather than fresh produce.

Previous food recalls this month included Queso Fresco’s Del Bueno Casero Fresh Cheese in Washington state, Publix Super Markets’ spinach dip in Florida and Fine Mexican Food Products Inc’s avocado pulp and halves in California.

Transcribed by Janete Weinstein
Source KTLA and Los Angeles Times
September 30, 2011
6:10 p.m. PDT

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