Ready Pac brand processor recalls products with romaine

Ready Pac brand processor recalls products with romaine

UPDATE: The recall has been amended to 75,233 pounds to exclude products without meat, which the Food Safety Inspection Service does not regulate. The list of products has been updated to reflect the changes.

Processor Missa Bay LLC has recalled more than three dozen salad products ith romaine as investigators search for a cause of an eight-state E. coli outbreak with 17 cases.

Most of the recalled products are private-label brands, but include Bonduelle and Ready Pac brand products. Bonduelle Fresh Americas is the marketer of Ready Pac products, one of which has been named by the Maryland Department of Health as related to cases there. 

Missa Bay said the recalled products contain romaine from the same lot as the Ready Pac salad identified in Maryland.

The Swedesboro, N.J.-based Missa Bay has recalled 97,272 pounds of salads with chicken and other meats, but will “likely update the volume as more information becomes available,” according to a recall notice on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service website. The USDA, and not the Food and Drug Administration, oversees food safety for products that include chicken and other meats.

The recalled products carry private label brands from retailers that include Aldi, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Albertsons and Target. The full list is available on the FSIS website.

Aldi released a statement about the recall, which included two products sold at its stores.

"We take the safety and integrity of the products we sell very seriously," according to the statement. "The two products ALDI sold that were included in this recall, Little Salad Bar Chicken Caesar Salad and Little Salad Bar Santa Fe Style Salad, had been removed from our shelves already and they are past their use-by dates. All of the products currently on our shelves are safe to eat."

The Maryland Department of Health on Nov. 15 reported it had tested an unopened Ready Pac Foods Bistro Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics Caesar Salad that had been purchased by one of the patients with E. coli, and found the pathogen on romaine in the salad. The FDA is investigating those cases, but has listed only two of the seven cases from Maryland in the E. coli outbreak; the agency is investigating the link with the other cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting a total of 17 cases in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Washington, and Wisconsin. The FDA is searching for a link with the cases, and has identified farms in the Salinas, Calif., area as suppliers of the Ready Pac romaine. Investigators will be taking samples from those companies.

The FDA and Bonduelle Fresh Americas reported none of the 15 patients outside of Maryland said they ate the Ready Pac Foods Bistro Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics Caesar Salad during interviews with health officials.

Missa Bay said the recalled product was processed from Oct. 14-16, with most use-by dates by Oct. 31; a few are listed as Nov. 1. The products have “EST. 18502B” inside the USDA mark of inspection, 

Bonduelle Fresh Americas has not recalled any products.

“In agreement with all regulatory agencies, we are not taking any recall action,” according to a Nov. 20 statement from the company. “The products identified are already significantly past their use-by dates and will no longer be on store shelves. As always, please abide by any use-by dates, and do not consume any products that have exceeded these dates.”

The Missa Bay products were shipped to distribution locations in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to the USDA notice.

Related stories:

Ready Pac salad not a common link in 8-state E. coli outbreak

Maryland: E. coli related to romaine in Ready Pac salad

As romaine problems continue, FDA takes closer look