The Salad Recall That's Torching Publix

If you bought a packaged salad at Publix recently, go check your fridge. (Seriously, put down the phone and do it right this minute.) Not at home? Set a reminder to do it as soon as you get in. This is serious stuff — on April 7, the Food and Drug Administration announced that several salad kits sold by the grocery chain had been recalled due to potential listeria contamination. While the recall means that the salads still in stores are likely to be pulled from the shelves, the FDA can't do much about the ones that have already been sold, besides cautioning purchasers not to eat them.

The affected salads were packaged in Morrow, Georgia, by Fresh Express and distributed in five different states: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. While Publix isn't the only grocery chain affected, this recall is a black eye for the chain since one of the recalled salads is branded under its name. According to the company's website, the recalled salads sold in its stores include the Publix Makoto honey ginger salad kit, as well as the Fresh Express-branded Caesar and chipotle cheddar chopped kits.

Listeria is one of the more serious food-borne illnesses

Listeria infection is no laughing matter. While the illness is not likely to be fatal to most healthy adults, it can and does cause serious complications for infants, the elderly, pregnant people, and the immunocompromised. An earlier listeria outbreak linked to Fresh Express salads was responsible for making 10 people seriously ill (or ill enough to report, at any rate) and killing one person, while soft cheeses sold by Publix and Sam's Club were likely at fault in a listeria outbreak that resulted in 21 serious illnesses, a miscarriage, and a death. Perhaps the worst listeria outbreak in recent history, however, was one caused by cantaloupes in 2011: 147 people became ill and 33 of them died. While Publix was not one of the stores that sold these cantaloupes, other major retailers including Aldi and Whole Foods were left scrambling to pull the fruit from their produce bins.

If you think there's a chance that you've eaten any of Publix's recalled salads, don't panic, since the Mayo Clinic says there's a good chance you may not become ill at all. If you do develop symptoms like a fever, chills, aching muscles, diarrhea, or nausea, though, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor can prescribe antibiotics to help combat the infection and prevent it from turning into anything more serious.