FDA recalls another California vegetable

By Rachel Konrad

SAN FRANCISCO- Less than a week after the Food and Drug Administration lifted its warning on fresh spinach grown in California’s Salinas Valley, a popular brand of lettuce grown there has been recalled over concerns about E. coli contamination.

The lettuce does not appear to have caused any illnesses, Salinas-based Nunes Company Inc. said in a statement.

The company initiated a voluntary recall Sunday of green leaf lettuce purchased last week under the Foxy brand name. Foxy is one of the nation’s largest suppliers of lettuce, celery, broccoli, vegetable platters and stir-fry mixes.

The recall covered lettuce purchased in grocery stores Oct. 3-6 in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. It was also sold to distributors in those states who may have sold it to restaurants.

The recalled lettuce was packaged as “Green Leaf 24 Count, waxed carton,” and “Green Leaf 18 Count, cellophane sleeve, returnable carton.” Packaging is stamped with lot code 6SL0024.

Executives ordered the recall after learning that water used to irrigate lettuce fields may have been contaminated with E. coli, according to the company statement. E. coli can proliferate in uncooked produce, raw milk, unpasteurized juice, contaminated water and meat.

Vice President Tom Nunes Jr. and attorney Brett R. Harrell did not respond Sunday to phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.

FDA spokeswoman Julie Zawisza said the agency is aware of the voluntary recall but had no details.