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Nationwide Recall of Salad and Taco Kits Linked to Listeria Outbreak: What You Need to Know

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Mason Walker
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Nationwide Recall of Salad and Taco Kits Linked to Listeria Outbreak: What You Need to Know

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A recent listeria outbreak linked to salad and taco kits sold in major grocery stores nationwide has prompted a recall. The outbreak has resulted in over 20 hospitalizations and two fatalities, with the affected individuals ranging from one to 88, with a median age of 52. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that 85% of those affected are Hispanic.

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The Listeria Outbreak and Its Link to a Decade-Long Epidemic

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has linked this recent listeria outbreak to a decade-long epidemic that began in 2014, as the same strain of listeria, listeria monocytogenes, is involved. This is the first time the agency has been able to pinpoint a culprit, as earlier investigations in 2017 and 2021 failed to identify a brand behind the outbreak.

Recalled Products and Affected Brands

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The recall includes not only salad and taco kits but also sandwich kits, enchiladas, and bean dips due to containing affected dairy products from Rizo-Lopez Foods. Major brands such as Dole, Fresh Express, Braga Fresh, and Taylor Fresh Foods have all recalled salad kits, while Sprouts and Bristol Farms have recalled taco kits. In addition, Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc. has recalled a variety of products including seven-layer bean dip, chicken enchiladas, cilantro salad dressing, and more than 60 soft cheeses, yogurt, and sour cream.

What Consumers Should Do

Consumers are advised to check the Food and Drug Administration's table of recalled products and promptly discard any recalled items. It is also advised to clean and sanitize surfaces where the recalled products were stored or prepared. The FDA also offers safe handling and cleaning advice for consumers to follow.

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Risks and Symptoms of Listeria Infection

Listeria infections can cause serious illness and even death, particularly in vulnerable populations such as pregnant individuals, fetuses, newborns, adults 65 years and older, and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of infection include fever, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle ache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and seizures. According to the CDC, there is a 94% hospitalization rate among listeria cases, with most infections treatable with antibiotics.

Preventing Listeria Infections

The CDC warns that raw milk, cold-smoked fish, sprouts, soft cheese, melons, meat spreads, and deli meats, cheese, and salads are most at risk for listeria contamination. Consumers are therefore advised to handle these foods with caution and adhere to safe food preparation and storage practices to avoid infection.

The investigation into this outbreak is ongoing, with the potential for more cases as listeria infection can be treated without medical care. As we continue to monitor this situation, it is crucial to adhere to recommended safety measures and stay informed about updates from reputable sources such as the FDA and CDC.

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