CDC: 9 illnesses linked to BrightFarms salmonella outbreak

Nine illnesses and one hospitalization across two states have been linked to a salmonella outbreak from BrightFarms brand salad produced in Rochelle, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site said.

Rochelle facility conducting internal investigation

ROCHELLE — Nine illnesses and one hospitalization across two states have been linked to a salmonella outbreak from BrightFarms brand salad produced in Rochelle, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site said. 

An announcement came Friday that any BrightFarms brand Sunny Crunch salad produced in Rochelle should not be eaten and should be thrown out, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. Surfaces and containers and containers that may have touched the contaminated products should be washed with hot and soapy water. 

Salmonella symptoms usually appear 6-to-72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria which include: diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, chills, dehydration and nausea. 

Those that have developed symptoms after eating the salad are asked to contact their healthcare provider or local health department and not to report to work if they work in food service, healthcare or child care. 

The CDC site said the investigation is still active and the products have been recalled. They include 50/50 Spring & Spinach, Butter Crisp, Harvest Crunch, Lakeside Crunch, Mighty Romaine, Nutrigreens, Spring Crunch, Spring Mix and Sunny Crunch. They are packaged in clear, plastic clamshell containers and labeled “fresh from Rochelle, IL” with “best by” dates through July 29. The products are distributed to at least four states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin). 

In a frequently asked questions page on its site about the situation, BrightFarms said the recall was voluntary and is limited to its Rochelle facility. 

The recalled products were sold in Illinois at select Walmart stores, Mariano's Fresh Markets, Strack Van Till, Sullivan's Foods, Caputo's, Jewel-Osco and Wisconsin stores including Pick 'n Save, Metro Market, Copps, Tadych’s and Walmart (select stores). Additional retailers may also be affected, BrightFarms said. Other varieties produced at the Rochelle facility (such as: Baby Spinach and Baby Arugula, among others) are not affected. 

“We are taking this action out of an abundance of caution after being notified of illnesses among eight consumers, some of whom purchased or consumed the above products during the month of June,” the BrightFarms site said. “It has not been confirmed that BrightFarms products were, in fact, the source of these illnesses. We are continuing to conduct our own thorough investigation with the assistance of a team of outside experts, and we have also assured the FDA and CDC of our full cooperation as they continue their own investigations.”

Less than 24 hours elapsed between when BrightFarms discovered products might be contaminated and when it began contacting retailers, its site said. 

BrightFarms said it has previously never had any report of Salmonella attributed to its Rochelle facility in five years of operation

“Growing produce in a contained greenhouse environment under stringent food safety and sanitation standards minimizes any possibility of contamination,” the BrightFarms site said. “The reports that are currently under investigation are highly unusual and receiving our full and undivided attention.”   

If you purchased an affected product, BrightFarms asked that you discard it or return it to its place of purchase for a full refund. Those with questions can email [email protected] with the subject line: Recall or call 1-866-857-8745 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET. 

“BrightFarms is committed to providing wholesome products, and the health and safety of consumers is the company's number one priority,” the BrightFarms site said. “In addition to today's voluntary recall, the company has already begun taking steps to enhance our already rigorous food safety protocols, and testing all products produced in the Rochelle facility for exposure to Salmonella.”

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