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Maryland Department of Health investigating prepackaged salads for possible E. coli cluster

Health department officials are investigating a possible cluster of E. coli in Maryland after seven people who had contracted the bacteria all reported buying and eating the same prepackaged Caesar salad from Sam’s Club.

In a news release, the department wrote that people should not eat any Ready Pac Bistro Bowl Chicken Caesar Salads with a “best by” date of Oct. 31, 2019, as tests of one of the affected people’s salad “identified the presence of E. coli O157 in the romaine lettuce.”


In a statement Wednesday, Bonduelle Fresh Americas, which owns the Ready Pac Foods brand, said the potential contamination is specific to the “Ready Pac Foods Bistro Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics Caesar Salad 2/6.25oz."

The department wrote that all seven patients who’d contracted E. coli ate the salads after purchasing them at various Sam’s Clubs throughout the state.


The strain of E. coli bacteria has also been found during prior outbreaks of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce, the department wrote.

One person has been hospitalized, the department wrote, and nobody has died.

E. coli causes severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, and can be life-threatening in extreme cases.

“Consumers are advised to seek medical advice if they have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days, or diarrhea that is accompanied by a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, blood in the stool or ongoing vomiting,” the department wrote.

This story has been updated to reflect new information provided by Bonduelle Fresh Americas.