Local schools impacted by national lettuce recall - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local schools impacted by national lettuce recall

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

It's hard enough to get kids to eat their greens, but now parents in Benton Community and Iowa City School Districts have to worry that certain healthy options may lead to listeriosis.

This week, food distributors informed both districts they had served lettuce and cabbage which are of a nationwide product recall. River Ranch Fresh Foods which display "best by" dates of 12MAY2012 - 29MAY2012 are potentially contaminated by listeria monocytongenes.

"The signs and symptoms of that are fever, nausea, perhaps vomiting and diarrhea, high fever, headaches," said Black Hawk County Health Department Director Bruce Meisinger.

Local Hy-Vee stores also pulled potentially contaminated lettuce and cabbage from their shelves. If you purchased a bag in the last couple weeks, check the "best by" date before opening. You can return the product to the retailer for a refund.

The FDA recommends thoroughly washing fruits and veggies to prevent listeriosis, but Meisinger said listeria is a stubborn bacteria. Even if you did try to wash the lettuce, it may not help. And unlike its cousin, e-coli, listeria can survive, and grow, while sitting in your fridge.

It also takes longer than other bacteria to affect your health.

"Average about three weeks. But sometimes it can be as much as a month or two before someone can actually develop illness from listeria," said Meisinger.

Which means kids may be well into their summer break before getting sick. It's of highest concern for folks with compromised or underdeveloped immune systems.

"If you're an otherwise healthy individual, you may not be at risk for actually becoming ill with listeria," Meisinger said.

As of May 24th, no confirmed cases of listeriosis have been linked with this product recall.

Click here to see the recall information.

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