The Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to eat certain Dole pre-packaged salads that have been connected to an outbreak of E. coli infections in Minnesota.
The illnesses have all been associated with Dole salads bought at Rainbow Foods grocery store outlets in the state. But salads carrying the same production codes have been distributed nationwide, prompting the national warning, the FDA said.
At least 11 people have been sickened by a specific type of E. coli that have been connected to the products. Two have been hospitalized. The last reported case connected to the outbreak was reported Sept. 19, the FDA said.
"Given the severity of this illness, FDA believes an urgent warning to consumers is needed. FDA is working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our state partners to further identify the source of the problem and its scope," said Dr. Robert Brackett, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in a statement.
The affected Dole products are:
--Classic Romaine, with a "best-if-used-by (BIUB)" date of Sept. 23, 2005 and a production code beginning with "B250."
--American Blend, with a "best-if-used-by (BIUB)" date of Sept. 23, 2005 and a production code beginning with "B250."
--Greener Selection, with a "best-if-used-by (BIUB)" date of Sept. 22, 2005, and a production code beginning with "B250."
The "best-if-used-by" code date is one the upper right hand corner of the front of the bag. Stores probably aren't carrying these salads on their shelves any more, but people may still have some at home. They should be thrown away, the FDA said.
The particular type of E. coli connected to the salads is known as O157:H7. An infection can cause bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Most healthy adults recover within a week, but children under 5 and the elderly are at risk for complications that can lead to kidney damage or death.
Dole Food Co. has issued a recall for the affected salad products, the FDA said.