The Fresh Express brand of a chopped sunflower salad mix is being recalled on suspicion of contamination with E. coli 0157:H7. It may be connected with illnesses reported in the United States from romaine lettuce.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced the updated recall Dec. 12. The product may have been distributed nationally, but is confirmed to have been available in Manitoba and Saskatchewan as well as Eastern Canada.
Twenty-four illnesses have been reported in six eastern Canadian provinces in connection with the investigation relating to the product, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. It said the U.S. Centres for Disease Prevention and Control is also investigating illnesses that are genetically related to the ones in Canada.
“Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to Fresh Express brand Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak,” the health agency said.
“Many of the individuals who became sick reported having eaten Fresh Express brand Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits before their illnesses occurred. The investigation is ongoing, and it is possible that additional sources could be identified.
The salad kits in question are in 315-gram packages with best-before dates up to and including Dec. 7.
“The Canadian and U.S. investigations are ongoing to determine which ingredient in the chopped salad kit may have been contaminated. Romaine lettuce is one of the ingredients in the salad kit, but more information is needed to determine if this outbreak is related to a current outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California, growing region,” the health agency said on its website.
“The E. coli strain identified in this outbreak is different from the strain identified in the illnesses linked to romaine lettuce from Salinas.”
Eating food contaminated with E. coli can cause illness, though most people will recover on their own. However, some cases can be severe and require hospitalization.
More information is available at www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/public-health-notices/2019/outbreak-e-coli-salad-kits.html.