(UPDATED Feb. 3)
Four brands of fresh cilantro sold at certain Walmart stores have been recalled because they may be contaminated with salmonella, the nation's biggest retailer said.
Walmart posted a recall alert -- which it does only when a product has been sold at a Walmart or Sam's Club store or their websites. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Sabor Farms of Salinas, Calif. recalled the cilantro after sample tests detected salmonella.
So far, no one has reported getting sick from eating the cilantro. Salmonella can cause a potentially severe illness in young children and those with weakened immune systems, with symptoms including fever, stomach cramps and diarrhea.Included in the recall are cilantro bunches packaged under the Nature's Reward, Ocean Mist, Tanimura & Antle and Queen Victoria brand labels. The cilantro was harvested on Jan. 13 and 14 and the FDA lists the label numbers affected. The cilantro would have been sold at stores between Jan. 14 and Jan. 28.
Sabor Farms' special counsel Brad Sullivan said most of the cilantro went to Walmart stores in California and cases were also shipped to Toronto and Maryland. Some cilantro also went to food services in California. Sabor Farms said it confirmed with the four companies that got the product that none of the recalled cilantro is still available for sale.
Sabor Farms President William Quinlan said in a statement "the safety of our consumers is always our top priority. Period. Even though it is unlikely this would pose a health concern, we believe the prudent and proper course of action is to pull the product back. Using product and shipping codes, we are working closely with health officials as well as our distributors and wholesalers to quickly and efficiently locate and dispose of the cilantro. If there is any question about the source of cilantro you should discard it, and any items prepared with it."
California Department of Public Health's Food Safety Section will continue to investigate the cilantro distribution, said the agency's section chief, Patrick Kennelly in a statement sent to Consumer Ally. "While we do not believe that any of the affected product remains in the marketplace, consumers may still have some of the effected cilantro or may have used it to make other products such as fresh salsa."
Contact Sabor Farms at (831) 970-9754. In December, Little Bear brand cilantro and curly parsley was recalled in 14 states and Canada over salmonella fears. Upscale grocer Trader Joe's in November recalled several products because they contained cilantro that may have been contaminated with salmonella. Fresh cilantro also was recalled at Walmart stores in 2009.
UPDATE: The recalled cilantro also went to Safeway and other groceries in California as well as restaurants including several Marie Callender locations, according to a distribution list posted by the state's Department of Health.
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