Another recall blow for leafy greens industry

| 9/18/2007

Editor’s note: Watch for Clarissa Kell-Holland’s upcoming story with additional details on how the lack of recall procedures affects produce haulers.

The California leafy greens industry suffered another blow Monday when the second voluntary recall in less than a month was announced on another brand of bagged salad mix because of potentially deadly microbial contamination.

However, truckers dodged the bullet in this most recent recall since the product – Dole’s “Hearts Delight” salad mix – was found after it had already been taken off trucks and put on store shelves. Last month, the majority of truckers hauling Metz Fresh bagged spinach were in transit with 90 percent of the product when a presumptive positive test for salmonella was found.

Rene Cardinal, acting national manager of the Fresh Products division of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, told Land Line on Tuesday, Sept. 18, that their surveillance monitoring program caught the problem through random testing of certain products their agency does on certain products once it hits store shelves.

“We usually take a sample of the product on the shelves back to our labs and test the product to make sure there are no problems,” he said. “In this case, it was not, so we then had to make sure the product was removed from the marketplace.”

The voluntary recall involves all salad bearing the label “Dole Hearts Delight” sold in the U.S. and Canada with a “best if used by” date of Sept. 19, 2007, and a production code of “A24924A” or “A24924B” on the package.

This latest recall was announced almost exactly a year after a nationwide spinach outbreak also linked to Dole, but packed by Natural Selections Foods, left 200 sickened and three dead because of E.coli contamination and left many OOIDA members and produce haulers “holding the bag” with potentially contaminated product on their trailers.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer