For Immediate Release: September 18, 2007
Media Contact: Communication Office
BURLINGTON - The Vermont Department of Health is warning consumers not to eat Dole brand "Hearts Delight" packaged salads with a "best if used by" date of September 19, 2007, and a production code of "A24924A" or "A24924B" stamped on the package. Routine screening of the product by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency identified a sample contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, a strain of E.coli bacteria.
To date, no illnesses have been reported. According to the company the product was sold in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces in Canada, and in Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and neighboring states in the U.S. Products may also have been distributed in Vermont.
E. coli are coliform bacteria that normally live in the intestines of humans and animals. Although most strains are harmless, several are known to produce toxins that can cause diarrhea. The E. coli strain called 0157:H7 can cause severe diarrhea and kidney damage. Symptoms of E. coli 0157:H7 usually start from 3-4 days after eating a contaminated food item, and may include stomach cramps and diarrhea. Bloody diarrhea may develop.
Anyone with these symptoms within 3-5 days of consuming this product should seek medical attention. If any "Dole Hearts Delight" salad was eaten before the onset of illness, save the package and put it aside for possible collection by the Vermont Department of Health.
Illness should be reported to the Vermont Department of Health at 802-863-7240 or 1-800-640-4374. Vermonters who have "Dole Hearts Delight" salad and are not ill should destroy the product or return it to their grocers.
For more information about this strain of E. coli, visit the Department of Health online fact sheet “Facts about E. coli 0157:H7.”
Additional information is available from the U.S Food and Drug Administration.