Fresh Express lettuce under recall in West Virginia

Fresh Express Inc. is recalling a limited quantity of 10-ounce “Hearts of Romaine” after a package of the product yielded a positive result for Listeria monocytogenes. The sample was taken as part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s random sample testing program, according to West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass, who is advising consumers to check their refrigerators for the now-expired lettuce.

“The use-by date on this particular product is August 23, so it’s unlikely that it is still in stores, but consumers should discard it if they still have it in their kitchens,” Commissioner Douglass said.

He also renewed his call for funding to move the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s outdated food safety laboratories to the Regional Technology Park in South Charleston.

“This is another example of the importance of government food safety programs and the technology they rely upon to protect public health,” he said. “The West Virginia Department of Agriculture desperately needs to relocate its laboratories … but we’re still looking for the necessary funding. Although this is an expensive proposition, it is an investment that will pay dividends to the well-being of all West Virginians for many decades into the future.”

The recalled product is identified with a Product Code beginning with “G222″ and a Use-by Date of August 23, which is located in the upper right-hand corner of the package. In addition, the UPC Code of 71279 26102 is located on the back of the package below the barcode. The product was distributed in limited quantities in 19 predominantly eastern and southeastern states, including West Virginia.

No illnesses are reported in association with the recall, and no other Fresh Express products are being recalled. Customers with questions may contact Fresh Express customer service at 800-242-5472.

Symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes infection may include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea. If it spreads to the nervous system, symptoms may include headache, stiff neck or confusion. The illness is of primary concern to pregnant women and adults with weakened immune systems. It is rare for healthy adults and children to become seriously ill.

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