Company Searching for Recalled Lettuce

By Juliana Barbassa
Associated Press
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 9 -- The company that recalled its lettuce after irrigation water tested positive for E. coli scrambled Monday to locate 250 remaining cartons of the greens, which could be scattered across seven Western states.

On Sunday, Nunes Co. recalled more than 8,500 cartons of green leaf lettuce grown on one farm in the Salinas Valley, the agricultural region at the center of the contaminated-spinach outbreak that killed three people and made 199 others sick.

By Monday morning, all but 250 cartons of the lettuce distributed under the Foxy brand between Oct. 3 and Oct. 6 had been located and were being destroyed, Nunes President Tom Nunes said.

The search continued for the remaining cartons, which Nunes said were believed to be in supermarkets or restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

"If we can get it all back, I'll be a happy camper," Nunes said, emphasizing that the recall was precautionary since there had been no evidence of E. coli on the lettuce, or any reports of illnesses.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration commended the company for its action.

"Clearly, the company did the right thing in terms of taking the proper approach in not putting the public at risk and initiating a voluntary recall," said David Acheson, chief medical officer in the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Acheson said the lettuce recall does not appear to be related to the contaminated-spinach outbreak.

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