Updated March 9, 2022, The Fresh Express salad Listeria outbreak has ended with 10 illnesses and one death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The illnesses were reported from July 26, 2016, to October 19, 2021. The 10 patients, who ranged in age from 44 to 95 years, were all hospitalized. The death was reported from Pennsylvania.
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State and local public health officials interviewed five patients about the foods they ate in the month before they became ill. Four of them reported eating various packaged salads, two specifically mentioned Fresh Express brand.
The illnesses have been reported from eight states, IL, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, and VA.
Health officials used whole genome sequencing to identify the “fingerprint” of the Listeria strain cultured from each patient. Results showed these fingerprints were closely related suggesting they all got sick from the same food.
On December 16, 2021, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Developmentexternal icon isolated the outbreak strain from a bag of Fresh Express Sweet Hearts packaged salad collected from a grocery store during routine sampling. The salad was produced at the Fresh Express facility in Streamwood, IL.
Fresh Express Salad Recall
Fresh Express issued a recall for salads produced at its facility in Streamwood, IL on December 20, 2021. The company has temporarily ceased production at the plant.
The recalled salads have product codes Z324 through Z350. They were sold under the Fresh Express brand name and store brand names at BJ’s, Weis Markets, ALDI, Albertsons, Walmart, GiantEagle, ShopRite. The store brands include Wellsley Farms, Weis, Simply Nature, Signature Farms, O Organics, Marketside, Market District, Giant Eagle, and Bowl & Basket.
Previous Outbreaks Linked to Fresh Express Salads
2020 Fresh Express Salad Cyclospora Outbreak
Fresh Express salads have been linked to previous outbreaks. Last year, 701 people were sickened with parasitic infections after eating Fresh Express salads contaminated with Cyclospora. The bagged salad containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots produced by Fresh Express were sold under that brand name and store brands including ALDI Little Salad Bar, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco Signature Farms, ShopRite Wholesome Pantry, and Walmart Marketside. All of the salads were produced at the Fresh Express facility in Streamwood, IL. Multiple recalls were issued
2019 Fresh Express Salad E. coli Outbreak
In 2019, an E. coli outbreak linked to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Salad sickened 10 people in 5 states. Four people were hospitalized one of whom developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) a form of kidney failure associated with E. coli infections. The number of illnesses reported from each state was: Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Minnesota (4), North Dakota (1), and Wisconsin (3).
2018 Fresh Express Salad Cyclospora Outbreak
A 2018 Cyclospora outbreak linked to Fresh Express salad sold at McDonald’s sickened 511 people in 16 states, hospitalizing 24 of them. During an investigation of the outbreak, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested an unused package of romaine lettuce and carrot mix distributed to McDonald’s by the Fresh Express processor in Streamwood, IL. Results were positive for Cyclospora.
Experienced Listeria Lawyers
If you developed a Listeria infection after eating Fresh Express salad and would like to discuss your legal options, please contact our Listeria lawyers. Our Food Safety Team has more experience handling Listeria lawsuits than any other law firm in the country securing some of the largest Listeria settlements in U.S. history including a recent award of $6.4 million.
UPDATED This post was updated March 9, 2022 to include information from the final update from the CDC after the outbreak ended.