A public health alert has been issued because salads contaminated with bacteria were shipped to some Trader Joe's stores in California and could cause health problems, officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Tuesday.
Salads with chicken made by Vallejo-based Ghiringhelli Specialty Foods have not been recalled because they are probably not being sold any longer or are past their "Use by" dates.
But food inspectors said the salads should either be thrown out or returned to the store where they were bought.
The salads, which were labeled as ready to eat, were sold in 9.3-ounce plastic containers at Trader Joe's with the name "TRADER JOE'S Broccoli Slaw & Kale Salad with White Chicken Meat."
Food inspectors said the salads had "Use by" dates of Oct. 10, 11, 12, and 13.
The contaminated salads can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults with weaker immune systems, pregnant women and their newborns.
According to food inspectors, listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.
Sometimes diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems occur and invasive infections spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infections in newborns. Serious conditions and sometimes death occurs in older adults or people with weakened immune systems.
Food inspectors said the disease can be treated with antibiotics.