Local News

Kroger: Tainted lettuce not in N.C. stores

Posted May 11, 2010 11:42 a.m. EDT
Updated May 11, 2010 12:13 p.m. EDT

— A spokesman for Kroger grocery stores said Tuesday that romaine lettuce recalled after an E. coli threat was never available in stores in North Carolina.

Freshway Foods announced a 23-state recall of lettuce last week related to those outbreaks that sickened 19 people in Michigan, Ohio and New York. Many of those who became ill were college students in the three states.

Most of the lettuce recalled was sold to food service establishments or to "grab and go" salad bars at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets and Marsh grocery stores. The recalled lettuce has a "best if used by" date of May 12 or earlier and was sold in Alabama, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Korger’s Carl York said the affected lettuce was not used in any North Carolina stores. Kroger notifies customers if any product they buy is recalled with a printed message on their register tape, he noted.

No contamination was found at Freshway's processing plant, according to the Food and Drug Administration. New York officials discovered the contamination in a bag of Freshway Foods shredded romaine lettuce last week after local authorities had been investigating the outbreak for several weeks.

The most common strain of E. coli found in U.S. patients is E. coli O157. The CDC said the strain linked to the lettuce, E. coli 0145, is more difficult to identify and may go unreported. E. coli infection can cause mild diarrhea or more severe complications, including kidney damage.