Salad and wrap products at the center of a public health alert issued Monday are about a week past their “best by” date, but people who ate them days ago could still get sick.
The dates of the recalled products ranged from July 18 to July 23, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a warning for the items shipped nationwide out of concern that they could be contaminated with a parasite that can take weeks to develop into infection.
Caito Foods found out from its lettuce supplier, Fresh Express, that chopped romaine used in some of its beef, pork and poultry salads and wraps were being recalled, according to the FSIS alert.
The parasite, Cyclospora, is spread by ingesting food or drink contaminated with feces and can cause an intestinal infection called Cyclosporiasis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms of the illness include diarrhea, nausea and fatigue and may take more than two weeks to show, according to the CDC. It could be weeks further before people actually report such an infection, the FSIS alert said.
“FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ refrigerators and that consumers may be at risk due to the length of the Cyclospora incubation period,” the alert said. “Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.”
“Fresh Express committed to using recall procedures to inform companies that received additional products of concern about the sample result,” the FDA release said.