The leafy greens from US greenhouse grower lēf Farms are safe to eat, and have always been, despite last weeks recall.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that a laboratory error incorrectly caused last week’s recall announcement, concerning lēf Farms “Spice” Packaged Salad Greens. "The products from lēf Farms are safe, and the recall has been canceled," they say.
On May 5, DHHS issued a press release regarding a potential contamination of Escherichia coli O157 bacteria of a specific lot of lēf Farms “Spice” Packaged Salad Greens. Upon being informed, lēf Farms voluntarily initiated a recall of the potentially affected products, prioritizing the health and safety of their customers. Subsequent whole genome sequencing was conducted, which determined that the control sample and the lēf Farms sample were nearly identical, indicating that the initial lab results were inaccurate due to a contamination error within the lab itself.
“I wish to apologize to lēf Farms, their customers, and the public for this unfortunate event,” said Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) Director Tricia Tilley. “lēf Farms’ quick and decisive actions put the health of their customers first. Their products are safe for consumers. We appreciate that lēf Farms has been a willing partner in this process. While this situation is unprecedented, our dedicated staff will embrace all corrective actions to ensure it will not occur again.”
Shawn Jasper, State Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets and Food, added: “After a two-day inspection of lēf Farms’ facility and products, what we discovered was a company that operates at the highest level of food safety and integrity. We are working closely with the FDA and lēf Farms to make this right.”
lēf Farms is a subsidiary of BrightFarms, a national leader in the booming indoor farming industry, which is transforming how produce is grown and delivered with its expanding network of high-tech, sustainable hydroponic farms.
“We are relieved to confirm that this was merely a lab mistake and our product was never at risk. Customer health and safety remain our top priority. I’m immensely proud of our team’s swift response and effective collaboration with FDA and state officials,” said Steve Platt, CEO of BrightFarms.
With the recall canceled, lēf Farms “Spice” is returning to store shelves in Hannaford and Market Basket in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. There is no longer any need for consumers who have purchased the lēf Farms “Spice” products to discard them or seek refunds from their place of purchase. Consumers with questions are encouraged to call lēf Farms at 1-866-857-8745 between 8:00 am - 6:00 pm EDT or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Recall.
The PHL has not experienced a false positive from routine testing that resulted in a voluntary recall in more than twenty years. DHHS is working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to confirm the source of the contamination and will implement necessary protocol changes to ensure it is not repeated. DHHS has been in communication with lēf Farms, the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, and the FDA. Based on the results of the investigation of the contaminated sample, the PHL will implement corrective actions to protect consumers, manufacturers and food producers, and the general public.