Cobb Salad Contamination Lawsuit

February, 2012 — The Dallas company GH Food SW is voluntarily recalling approximately 515 pounds of Cobb salad products for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The Cobb salad products contain eggs that recently tested positive for Listeria, which can cause a life-threatening disease known as listeriosis. Children, older people, women who are pregnant, and people who have a suppressed immune system (for example, people with cancer or HIV) have the highest risk of death caused by listeriosis.

The company is recalling the following Cobb salad product:

  • The products are called “Fresh Garden Highway Cobb Salad.” The salads are packaged in 7.5-oz plastic containers. The affected products are marked with a sell-by date through February 6, 2012. There is also an establishment number printed on the package: P-44056. The salads were distributed to retail establishments throughout Texas.

The company that supplied the eggs to GH Foods SW is Michael Foods Egg Products Co. When the FDA inspected the eggs produced at the facility, there was a positive test for Listeria.

The danger is that the Listeia bacteria can cause listeriosis, a potentially fatal disease. The first symptoms of listeriosis are high fever, stiff neck, strong headache, and nausea. It is very rare for a healthy adult to die from listeriosis. Children and older people have a higher risk of death from listeriosis. If a pregnant woman becomes infected, she may have a miscarriage or a stillbirth. People who have an abnormally weakened immune system (cancer patients, or HIV-positive people) also have a higher risk of severe side effects from listeriosis.

The FDA has several guidelines to reduce the risk of contracting listeriosis. The Listeria bacteria is found on raw meat, fish, and poultry products, including meat and eggs.

  • After you touch a high-risk product, spend at least 20 second washing your hands with warm water and soap.
  • All utensils, cutting boards, surfaces, and dishes that have contacted the products should be washed with soap and hot water. Spills should also be promptly cleaned.
  • Do not use the same cutting boards for meat as for vegetables or other food products. These can be cross-contaminated.
  • In addition to raw meat, fish, and poultry products, some other foods are high-risk. These include: uncooked hot dogs, lunch meat (bologna and deli meat), milk that has not been pasteurized, store-made salads in the deli section, soft cheeses (such as brie), and more.
  • Listeria can also grow in the refrigerator, so it is important to eat leftovers quickly and keep the refrigerator at 40 degrees.

What is a Cobb salad? It is a type of American salad. It typically contains hard-boiled eggs, bacon, cooked chicken breast, diced avocado, tomato chunks, chives, cheese, and sometimes other ingredients. These are all placed over a bed of lettuce, and often topped with a vinaigrette or other salad dressing.

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