Dole Recalls Bagged Lettuce Amid E. coli Scare

A division of Dole Food Co. issued an international recall of one of its brands of bagged salad Monday after a sample taken from a store in Canada tested positive for E. coli, the company said.

The voluntary recall affects all packages of Dole's Hearts Delight salad mix sold in the United States and Canada with a "best if used by" date of September 19, 2007, and a production code of "A24924A" or "A24924B," Dole said.

The product was sold in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces in Canada and in Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and neighboring states in the U.S.

The company's move came a day after the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency warned consumers not to eat Hearts Delight, a ready-to-eat
lettuce mix.

Neither Canadian health officials nor Dole have received reports of anyone getting sick from the product, they said.

"Our overriding concern is for consumer safety," Eric Schwartz, president of the Dole Fresh Vegetable division said in a statement.

"We are working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and several U.S. state health departments."

The FDA was talking with Dole about the situation Monday, agency spokesman Michael Herndon said the Canadian agency said it would be looking to find out at what point the salad blend became contaminated and to see if any other products are affected, spokesman Garfield Balsom said.

"We'll go back and find the origins and determine where the product was produced and packaged," Balsom said.

Last year, an E. coli outbreak traced to bagged baby spinach sold under the Dole brand was blamed for the deaths of three people and for sickening hundreds more across the U.S. State and federal authorities ultimately identified a Central California cattle ranch next to spinach fields belonging to one of Dole's suppliers as being the source of the bacteria.

Dole is based in Westlake Village, Calif.


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