Millions of pounds of pre-made foods like salads, entrees, burritos and pizzas were recently recalled from supermarkets across the country, including Harris Teeter, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, Walmart and 7-Eleven.
At the center of the recall: an onion ingredient supplied by McCain Foods that was used in all of the ready-to-eat items. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the onions may have been contaminated with listeria and salmonella.
While quick-serve items may save time, the recall is more evidence that they may not be worth the risk, experts suggest. “People should be concerned about ready-made food from any source,” says Cynthia Cadieux, PhD, RDN, Associate Dean for Educational Assessment and Evaluation, Director of Medical and Health Professions Education, Associate Professor of School of Health Professions, “whether it is a home kitchen, farmer’s market, restaurant or grocery store.”
Dr. Cadieux also recommends paying special attention to any foods containing ingredients that are common causes of foodborne illness, such as poultry, ground beef, ham, eggs, salad greens, fresh produce, raw milk products and raw sprouts.
As of now, the USDA doesn’t have any confirmed cases of illness due to the recalled products. But symptoms could be mistaken for a stomach flu, and in the case of listeria, they could take several days to a month to appear.
Visit foodsafety.gov for additional guidance and strategies to minimize your exposure and help ensure the safety of your food.