A lettuce recall is causing wholesalers, restaurants, delis, and grocery stores in 23 states to pull romaine products off their shelves.
While these companies are expected to pull most of the suspect lettuce before it reaches consumers, consumers should watch out for so-called "grab and go" salads containing romaine lettuce sold at in-store salad bars and delis at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets, and Marsh stores, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns.
The romaine lettuce comes from Freshway Foods and is sold under the Freshway and Imperial Sysco brands in Alabama, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
They have a "use by" date of May 12 or earlier. Consumers who have such salads from Freshway should throw them away, the company says.
Freshway salads with "use by" dates after May 12 are not affected by the recall, nor are any bulk or prepackaged romaine lettuce or bagged salad mixes using romaine, Freshway says. The company, based in Sidney, Ohio, doesn't make those products, which are typically sold in the produce section.
Consumers with questions can call the company at 888-361-7106 on weekdays (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT) or visit its website for updates (www.freshwayfoods.com). You can read the company's release here.
The company voluntarily recalled its lettuce after the FDA on May 5 found E. coli bacteria in an unopened bag of Freshway's shredded romaine lettuce. So far, the tainted lettuce has been linked to 19 cases of illness in Michigan, New York, and Ohio. Twelve people were hospitalized, with three cases involving a potentially life-threatening complication.
"Multiple lines of evidence have implicated shredded romaine lettuce from one processing facility," the FDA said in a release.
So far, however, Freshway says an extensive FDA investigation has not found any contamination at the company's Sidney plant.