Produce recalls worry some consumers over what to buy at grocery store

By: Trishna Begam Email
By: Trishna Begam Email

For a full list of produce items that have been recalled recently, click here.

Pay close attention to the label and throw it out or take it back to the store if the item is from a farm that distributed a batch that was contaminated.

News 12 This Morning / Monday, Aug. 27, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Contaminated cantaloupes, listeria-laced lettuce, and bagged salad are among recent recalls issued by the FDA. It has some consumers scared to shop for fresh produce.

Jackie Byrd, the assistant retail manager at GHSU said, "It's not something you can really wash off."

Byrd is the chef at the cafeteria at Georgia Health Sciences and is responsible for what goes in and out of her kitchen.

"It's mostly a grocery store situation, not a food service establishment situation," she said.

More than 170 people got sick after eating cantaloupes contaminated with salmonella in 21 different states, but no illnesses have been reported in connection with the bagged salad or romaine lettuce.

"It's stuff that was introduced in the growing process so it's in the product and you cannot get it out," Byrd said.

If you have cantaloupes that are from Chamberlain Farm Produce out of Owensville, Ind., throw it out. Wrapped single head romaine lettuce distributed by Tanimura & Antle also need to be dumped.

"We grow these items in so many different parts of the country and they are very good about random sampling and testing," Byrd said. "They usually get it pretty quickly when there is something wrong and shut it down."

Byrd says the company that supplied the bad lettuce also does business with the company that supplies ingredients in her kitchen, but none of her products are being recalled.

"All of our products come from approved vendors," Byrd said. "The particular lettuce in question is not product we purchased."

Even though it's a threat you can't watch out for, there are proper ways to handle melons and other fresh ingredients.

"You don't want to put any soap or chemicals on something that you are trying to clean because you are going to eat it raw," she said.

Byrd recommends avoiding produce washes. Running water is your best bet.

"Make sure you are cleansing them thoroughly under running water. Take a produce brush and scrub them well," she said.

As retailers and chefs take stock of their inventory, open up your fridge and see if you need to throw any items out.

For a full list of produce items that have been recalled recently, click here. Pay close attention to the label and throw it out or take it back to the store if the item is from a farm that distributed a batch that was contaminated.


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