Unseen danger in bagged salads
For other people, it’s just a child strolling through the mall. But for 1 ugg boots 1 year old Amber Brister, a trip to the mall is a very big deal. Amber is out of the hospital, and happy to be shopping again with her mom and sister.
Amber was a healthy child until last September, when she had a frightening brush with death.
Lori Olson, Amber’s mother: She had kidney failure. She had to have a tube inserted through her abdomen and she was hooked up to a dialysis machine for 24 hours a day for about 18 days.
Amber was gravely ill. She couldn’t eat solid foods, had to be fed intravenously, and needed four blood transfusions. Lori said the doctors told her there was a real chance amber could die.
Lori Olson: It was horrible. When she started the dialysis, there was one point that she was in so much pain they gave her morphine and it didn’t even help. It was a really awful thing to watch.
The same week Amber was fighting for her life, across town in Minneapolis, 54 year old old Roi Dahl was also having serious medical problems.
Roi Dahl: It scared the hell out of me. I cried.
He had been sick for days, but says he figured it was just something he would get over. But then came the pain he says he was doubled over, unable to move, and hemorrhaging.
His family rushed him to the emergency room where doctors tried to stop the bleeding.
Dahl: The first night I was there they were holding their breath whether I was going to make it through the night or not. And the next day, they wanted to take out my entire colon and put a colostomy bag on me. And they still weren’t sure what was wrong.
Ten similar cases hit Minneapolis hospitals in three days, and no one was sure what was causing it. A public health investigation was launched.
Teams began calling patients to find out what they had eaten.
Dr. Steve Swanson of the Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota department of public health suspected a food borne illness.
Dr. Steve Swanson: We were actually contacting people who we ugg boots re ill and interviewing them while they were still in the hospital. But health officials found the victims hadn’t eaten ground beef but they all had eaten something that you might never suspect of giving you food poisoning bag salad.
Dr. Swanson and the CDC issue a public health warning about contaminated bag salad. Roi Dahl saw it and realized he still had part of the partially eaten bag in his refrigerator. They offer detail of what the bacterium appears like when viewed with electron microscopy and attached to sprouts.
It was Roi Dahl’s leftover lettuce that cracked the case. It was a perfect match.
Dr. That’s the proverbial ‘smoking gun.’
Dole Foods issued a voluntary recall for the ‘American Blend’ and ‘Classic Romaine’ bag salads implicated in the outbreak, but not before at least 26 people in three states had gotten very sick. Dr. Swanson believes there were probably many more victims.
Dr. Swanson: Those who become ill, and come to our attention in public health, are just the tip of the iceberg.
Lor ugg boots i Olson says she still can’t believe it was bag sala ugg boots d that made Amber so sick.
Lori Olson: Who would think that you could eat lettuce and almost die?
Most consumers would have no reason to suspect their lettuce. After all, it’s become part of the American diet. In fact, the industry says six million bags of salad are sold every day in this country.
Jim Gorney, food industry consultant: It’s a great product. It’s convenient, it’s wholesome, and it’s ready to go.
Industry Consultant Dr. Jim Gorney says bagged salad really is the greatest food innovation since, well, sliced bread. And millions do eat it safely every day. He says the outbreak that sickened Amber Brister and the others was unfortunate.