Don’t wash it; toss it

A local farming company has come under fire after various pre-packed lettuce products were recalled due to a number of cases of salmonella.

Tripod Farmers, located in Bacchus Marsh, distributed the lettuce, which was sold through both Coles and Woolworths supermarkets. The brands included Coles “4 Leaf Mix”, Woolworths “Salad Mix”, “SupaSalad Supamix” and “Wash n Toss Salad Mix”.

All these products had best before dates leading up to and including February 14.

The Department of Health and Human Services Senior Medical Advisor, Dr Finn Romanes said the links between the product and illness in Victorians had been made because of a higher than usual number of cases of the rare Salmonella anatum strain.

“Normally we only see a handful of cases of this strain each year, but sofar this year there have been 28 adult cases of Salmonella anatum – mostly adults – notified to the Department,” he said.

“As a result of following up the food histories of a number of people we have discovered a common source – the Tripod Farmers lettuce. Tests of three products from two batches have also tested positive for Salmonella anatum bacterium”.

Tripod Farmers issued a national voluntary product recall for the products on February 4. Managing Director, Frank Ruffo said the company was working closely with health authorities in the interests of public safety.

“We are shocked at the test results because we put public safety first and foremost and comply with all Australian health and safety standards,” he said.

“We will be doing everything within our power to determine how this has happened. We have commenced a thorough investigation and will work with health authorities from the department and Moorabool council, to ensure we get to the bottom of this”.

Moorabool Shire Council’s CEO Rob Croxford said council’s environmental health officers were working with Tripod and the State Department of Health to help them isolate the cause of the problem.

“Tripod is classed as a primary production premises and as such is not registered with Council,” he said.

“Council officers are now undertaking ongoing samples at the direction of the department”.

Dr Romanes said that an inspection of the premises has been undertaken and “a full and thorough clean-up has been carried out.”

Those that have purchased any of the recalled products are encouraged to return to the point of sale for a full refund or dispose of in the household rubbish bin.

First appeared in The Moorabool News, February 8 2016

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