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Listeria Outbreaks Affect School Districts; Fresh Express Salads Announces Third Recall of 2016

Consumers across the country should be aware of two recent events involving dangerous, contaminated, and inappropriately labeled food products. First, only a few weeks after school was dismissed for the summer season, nearly 50 different varieties of pre-packaged sandwiches have been recalled from almost 40 different school districts after reports surfaced that the sandwiches may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The company that makes the sandwiches, Let’s Do Lunch, attempted to describe the event as a minor threat due to the summer holiday, stating that any residual product can simply be discarded. The outbreak came to light after the USDA inspected the facility where the sandwiches were packaged, and tests from the inspection came back positive for Listeriosis.

The affected school districts cover 29 states across the nation and many major cities, including Sacramento, Houston, Portland, Albuquerque, and Indianapolis. The FDA initiated a recall of the affected products, which includes a complete list of the affected states and school districts. The company has expressed its intention to work closely with the school districts to ensure that any potentially affected products are pulled from distribution and not served to students.

The second major food contamination incident involves popular salad kit maker Fresh Express, which is owned by Chiquita Brands International. The company initiated a recall of its Caesar Salad Kits because the kits may contain the wrong condiment packages within the bag. The potentially affected units may include ingredients that have walnuts in them, which are a known allergen. For individuals with nut allergies, consuming a product containing nuts can lead to severe health complications and can even be fatal in some instances.

On June 17, 2016, the company issued a recall of roughly 2,000 cases of the Caesar Salad Kits after it discovered that two packages of the product were misassembled. This is the second time during 2016 that Fresh Express has issued a recall involving the wrong condiment packets being packaged inside its salad kit products, with the first recall being announced on February 6, 2016. The company also had to recall its Chopped Asian Salad Kit during May 2016 because of undeclared allergens in the product, such as wheat, soy, and almonds.

Food manufacturers have a duty to consumers to use reasonable care when designing, preparing, sourcing, packaging, distributing, and marketing their food products. This duty encompasses multiple aspects, including obeying any rules or regulations that require the companies to make disclosures about whether certain allergens are in the products and to provide accurate and appropriate labels for the products. Consumers who have suffered physical injuries as a result of consuming a mislabeled or inappropriately packaged product can bring a variety of claims against the companies involved in the product’s design, manufacture, and distribution, including negligence and strict product liability.

At Moll Law Group, we have provided experienced and diligent legal counsel to food contamination victims throughout the United States, including in Texas, Illinois, Florida, and California. We provide harmed individuals with a free consultation to discuss their situation and to help them decide whether legal action is appropriate in their case. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to schedule your confidential consultation today.

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