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Is the Salad in Your Fridge Contaminated with E. Coli?

Here we go again…another serious food scare. This is a U.S. Department of Agriculture Class I recall, ie, “a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.”

This time it’s over 90 tons of ready-to-eat salads and wraps with ham or chicken. You read right. 90 tons! That is a LOT of salad stuff. The CDC reports that it has found toxic E. coli in Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken and Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken sold at Trader Joe’s grocery stores.

At the time of this writing there are at least 26 people who have been infected in Arizona, California and Washington. Over one-fourth have been hospitalized and two have developed serious kidney problems that could lead to kidney failure. We suspect the numbers are likely to rise as more people become aware of the extent of the contamination.

Distribution centers for the wraps and salads are in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. How far the affected food has traveled beyond those distribution sites is yet to be determined.

The companies involved include the Glass Onion Catering company and Atherstone Foods, both of Richmond, California. Here is a list of products that may be contaminated:

  • 12 oz. packages of  “delish pan pacific chop salad”
  • 13.4 oz. packages of  “delish California style grilled chicken salad”
  • 9.9 oz. packages of  “delish uncured applewood smoked ham & cheese wrap”
  • 10.5 oz. packages of “delish grilled chicken caesar wrap”
  • 10.9 oz. packages of  “delish southwestern chicken wrap”
  • 11.5 oz. packages of  “delish greek brand low-calorie grilled chicken wrap”
  • 9.9 oz. packages of  “delish white chicken club wrap”
  • 11.2 oz. packages of  “delish asian style chicken wrap”
  • 13.4 oz. packages of  “atherstone Fine Foods Southwestern Style White Chicken Wrap with Chimichurri Sauce”
  • 10.5 oz. packages of  “atherstone Fine Foods Asian Style White Chicken Wrap with Mango Vinaigrette”
  • 9.9 oz. packages of  “atherstone Fine Foods Grilled White Chicken Caesar Wrap with Caesar Dressing”
  • 10.7 oz. packages of  “super fresh Foods California Grilled Chicken Salad, Low Fat Mendocino Mustard Dressing”
  • 10.7 oz. packages of  “Lunch Spot Southwestern Style Chicken Wrap, Chile & Lime  Dressing”
  • 9.2 oz. packages of  “super fresh Foods Pan Pacific Chopped Chicken Salad, Ginger Soy Dressing”
  • 10.7 oz. plastic containers of “TRADER JOE’S Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken.”
  • 11 oz. plastic containers of “TRADER JOE’S MEXICALI SALAD with Chili Lime Chicken.”
  • Delish Greek Style Orzo Salad (6.oz) Clam Shell/ UPC#49022 74630/ Distributed to Northern Calif. Walgreens
  • Delish Asian Style Noodle Salad (6. oz)  Clam Shell/ UPC# 49022 74628/ Distributed to Northern Calif. Walgreens
  • Delish Vegetarian Wrap (11.3oz) Cellophane/ UPC# 49022 55349/ Distributed to Northern Calif. Walgreens
  • Classic Greek Salad (9. oz) Clam Shell/ UPC# 0083 5794/ Distributed to Northern Calif. and Northern Nevada Trader Joe’s
  • Southwestern  Salad Kit (20 Lbs box)/ No UPC#/ Distributed to Northern Calif. Whole Foods
  • Wheat Berry Salad Kit (20 Lbs box)/ No UPC#/ Distributed to Northern Calif. Whole Foods

The companies supply food to Trader Joes, Super Fresh Goods and Delish as well as Walgreens and Whole Foods. It is still early in the investigation so it is hard to know which outlets have been affected and in which states.

We have experienced food poisoning with chicken and know first hand that it can be a very serious situation. In Joe’s case it led to severe diarrhea, fever, dehydration and hallucinations. It took almost two weeks to recover.


  • Symptoms can develop within one day or take as long as 10 days to show up. The most typical pattern is within three to four days of exposure the person starts feeling ill.
  • Early symptoms include stomach pain or cramps followed by serious diarrhea.
  • Be especially vigilant for symptoms of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). If the infected person starts urinating less frequently, feels exhausted and loses color in cheeks or lower eyelids seek immediate medical attention.

If you are like us you are probably getting very frustrated with yet another food contamination problem. According to the CDC “each year 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.” That seems unacceptable to us. The FDA and the USDA need to protect the food supply more effectively, in our opinion.

What do you think? Have you ever experienced food poisoning? What was it like? Were there other complications that lingered, such as arthritis, diabetes, kidney problems or prolonged GI discomfort? Share your own story below in the comment section.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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