Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lettuce Recall: Tanimura & Antle Shows How It Should Be Done

July 22, 2009

No one likes to hear of another lettuce recall due to Salmonella contamination. But if it has to happen, there's a "right way" to do it.

Tanimura & Antle, a Salinas valley grower, issued the following press release yesterday.

Tanimura & Antle Voluntarily Recalls One Lot of Romaine Lettuce Because of Possible Health Risk
July 2009

July 21, 2009

Tanimura & Antle, Inc. of Salinas, Calif. is voluntarily recalling one lot of romaine lettuce because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. No illnesses have been reported to date, and the company is working with FDA to inform consumers of this recall.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected withSalmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. The recall comes after a random test conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture tested positive.

Within hours of being notified yesterday, Tanimura & Antle, Inc. traced back the entire lot of romaine and advised all customers who received the recalled product of the test result. Tanimura & Antle, Inc. has instructed these customers to destroy the product. Although the recalled product is past its shelf life, the company is issuing this voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution to ensure that any product purchased by consumers will also be destroyed. Consumers who have purchased the recalled romaine as described above should not consume it, and should destroy the product.

The cartons of bulk or wrapped romaine being recalled are marked with the lot code 531380 and were harvested June 25 - July 2. This recall includes only this single lot of romaine; no other products are involved.

The recalled romaine was sold to retail, wholesale and food service outlets in Canada, Puerto Rico and the following 29 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Texas, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

“Tanimura & Antle is committed to our customers and the shoppers who buy our products every day. We practice strict food safety guidelines, using technology and scientific information to ensure that our products are as safe as possible. We will continue to review opportunities for improvement,” said Rick Antle, CEO. “Although the recalled product is well beyond the 14-16 day shelf life, we are voluntarily issuing this recall because we want to ensure that we minimize even the slightest risk to public health.”

Consumers with questions or who need information may call Tanimura & Antle at 1-877-827-7388 or may visit our web site for updates,

Amy Philpott, 202-384-1840,
Lisa Watson, 202-251-0012,

The lettuce was sold at Wal-Mart stores, and may also have been available through other retailers.

Tanimura & Antle deserves a pat on the back for:
  • Acting promptly after being notified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture of a Salmonella-positive result;
  • Having in place a tracing system that allowed it to identify, within hours, where all the recalled lettuce had been shipped; and
  • Including in the recall notice a list of states and countries where the lettuce was distributed.

The only item missing from the Company's recall notice is a list of retailers. Maybe next time.


  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. Thank you, Susan, and welcome.



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