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Lettuce Recall over Listeria Fear Affects 19 States, Canada

By: CBS News/ Associated Press
By: CBS News/ Associated Press

(CBS/AP) The lettuce recall over Listeria fears may be bigger than originally thought, with the California farm that issued the recall saying its notice had gone out to 19 states and Canada.

Initially, True Leaf Farms of Salinas announced a recall of 90 cartons of romaine shipped to an Oregon food service distributor, which shipped the produce to Washington and Idaho. But the chief executive of Church Brothers, which markets the farm's produce, said Saturday that the recall involved nearly 2,500 cartons.

Only 90 cartons went to retail sales, said CEO Steve Church, and those were the ones mentioned in the initial announcement. The rest of the cartons, he said, went to institutions such as restaurants and cafeterias, which were notified about the recall.

The company recalled the 33,000 pounds of lettuce after a check by federal officials found Listeria in a sample from one bag.

No illnesses have been reported.

The chopped, bagged lettuce - grown in Watsonville and processed in San Juan Bautista - was shipped Sept. 12 and 13. The recall covers products with a "use by date" of Sept. 29. The bag and box code is B256-46438-8.

States affected by the recall include Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Vermont.

Anyone who has the lettuce in their possession should not eat it, and should either destroy it or call Church Brothers, LLC for product pickup, the FDA said.

Consumers with questions may call Church Brothers at 800-799-9475 or visit the company's website for updates.

Lettuce currently picked at the Salinas farm is safe to eat, Church said.

The FDA has not yet identified the source of Listeria, said Stephanie Yao, a spokeswoman for the agency. She said the lettuce recall is unrelated to the recall of cantaloupes due to Listeria.

Listeriosis from tainted cantaloupe from a Colorado farm has caused at least 72 illnesses, including up to 16 deaths, in 18 states.

Listeria generally sickens the elderly, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever and muscle aches, often with other gastrointestinal symptoms. Unlike many pathogens, Listeria bacteria can grow at room temperatures and even refrigerator temperatures - and can linger long after the source of the contamination is gone.


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