Bagged greens buyers, you might have reason to be wary. This week, Chiquita Brands International issued a recall of their popular Fresh Express pre-washed salad blends due to allergen concerns—marking the fourth recall the brand has conducted since the start of 2016.
According to Food Safety News, the Orlando-based salad makers pulled hundreds of cases of lettuce from a number of southern states due to the potential accidental inclusion of Ceasar dressing packets within the "American" blend bags. Because the Caesar dressing contains milk, egg, wheat, and anchovy, the brand was forced to recall the bags for fear of harming unwitting allergic consumers.
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The recall was posted on the website of the U.S. Food and Drug administration, including a note that while no illnesses had yet to be reported as a result of the mix-up, "In some individuals the consumption of an undisclosed allergen could be life-threatening."
While misplaced dressing packets don't seem quite as life-and-death as a massive Listeria scare, this latest news does draw negative attention to Chiquita's salad division– which already had three recalls in 2016. The former incidents were also due to potential allergy scares, including another condiment packet mix-up in June involving 2,500 cases of Caesar Salad Kits distributed to 19 states. In February, the recall stemmed from errant dressing in bags of romaine.
Fresh Express customers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee who are concerned about possible allergen exposure will be able to return bags with an expiration use-by date of October 5 for a full refund. In the meantime, we'd recommend the salad brand dress with a little more care.