FDA investigating Listeria outbreak, Fresh Express recalling more than 200 products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local partners, is working to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections associated with the consumption of packaged salad. To date, this outbreak has been associated with 10 illnesses, 10 hospitalizations and one death spanning eight states.
Fresh Express is recalling more than 200 varieties of its branded and private label salad products produced at the company’s Streamwood, IL, facility because the product has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria.
“The FDA, along with the CDC and our state and local partners, is working to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections. To date, a positive sample of Fresh Express Sweet Hearts salad mix has been reported to match the outbreak strain," said Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response. "Fresh Express has voluntarily recalled products and consumers are advised not to eat, sell or serve any recalled products. Our investigation is ongoing, and we will continue to communicate should additional products be implicated."
Recalled salad items were distributed through retailers in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States, as well as distributors and retailers in Canada. The full list of recalled products and states affected can be found here.
“Ten people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from eight states," said Yiannas. "A sample of Fresh Express prepackaged romaine and sweet butter lettuce was collected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as part of their routine sampling efforts. The sample tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and was a match to the outbreak strain. Given this, Fresh Express voluntarily ceased production at their Streamwood, IL, facility and initiated a recall of certain varieties of its branded and private label salads produced in that facility."
Fresh Express immediately halted all production at the Streamwood facility and initiated a complete sanitation review. Fresh Express has already been in contact with retailers who received the recalled items, instructing them to remove them from store shelves and stop any further shipments to stores from distribution centers and other inventories.
Illnesses related to the outbreak started on dates ranging from July 26, 2016, to Oct. 19, 2021. This is an ongoing investigation, and FDA will provide additional information as it becomes available.