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October 4, 2005

FDA Warns of E. Coli Link to Dole Salads

Topics: Health Issues

Dole_salads.gifThe Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to eat certain Dole pre-packaged salads that have been connected to an outbreak of E. coli infections in Minnesota.

The illnesses have all been associated with Dole salads bought at Rainbow Foods grocery store outlets in the state. But salads carrying the same production codes have been distributed nationwide, prompting the national warning, the FDA said.

At least 11 people have been sickened by a specific type of E. coli that have been connected to the products. The affected Dole products are:

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."

Source and Scope of the Problem

To date there have been reports of eleven cases of illness attributed to E. coli O157 in Minnesota. Of these eleven cases, two individuals have been hospitalized. The latest reported illness was September 19, 2005.

However, salad products containing the affected production codes also are distributed nationwide, the FDA says.

"Given the severity of this illness, FDA believes an urgent warning to consumers is needed," says Dr. Robert Brackett, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

"FDA is working closely with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our state partners to further identify the source of the problem and its scope," he adds.

Serious Kidney Damage

Dole Food Company has issued a recall for the implicated salad products, according to the FDA. No other Dole salad products are involved. Dole is working cooperatively with the FDA to minimize any further risk to consumers.

E. coli O157:H7 infection often causes severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps; sometimes the infection causes non-bloody diarrhea or no symptoms. Usually little or no fever is present.

Individuals who may have experienced any of the above symptoms after eating these salad products should contact their physician or local department of health, advises the FDA.

Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, the infection can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can lead to serious kidney damage and even death. Children under five years of age and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

Related: Antibiotic-Resistant E. Coli May Be Spreading in Food Supply (12 Sep 2005)

Posted by Richard at October 4, 2005 11:30 PM

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