2021 E. coli Outbreak Linked to Packaged Salads

Illustration with a triangle and exclamation mark and text reading Food Safety Alert

Posted March 3, 2022

This outbreak is over. Stay up to date on food recalls and outbreaks to avoid getting sick from eating contaminated food.

Fast Facts
  • Illnesses: 10 
  • Hospitalizations: 4 
  • Deaths: 1
  • States: 4 
  • Recall: No
  • Investigation status: Closed
Packaged salad
What You Should Do

Vegetables, including leafy greens, are an important part of a healthy and balanced diet. However, they can sometimes be contaminated with harmful germs.

The safest produce is cooked; the next safest is washed. However, no washing method can remove all germs.

When eating raw leafy greens:

  • Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces before and after preparing leafy greens.
  • Clean leafy greens before eating or cutting them.
    • Discard outer leaves on whole heads of lettuce and any torn or bruised leaves.
    • Rinse under running water and use your hands to gently rub the surface of the leaves.
    • Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
    • If the label on a leafy greens package says “ready to eat,” “triple washed,” or “no washing necessary,” you don’t need to wash the greens.
  • Separate leafy greens from raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Refrigerate leafy greens within 2 hours. Refrigerate within 1 hour if they have been exposed to temperatures above 90°F (such as a hot car or picnic).