New Hampshire lab error incorrectly resulted in salad greens recall

FILE - Lettuce is seen in this file photo. Authorities in New Hampshire said a laboratory error...
FILE - Lettuce is seen in this file photo. Authorities in New Hampshire said a laboratory error resulted in an unnecessary recall.(Mercedes / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)
Published: May. 12, 2023 at 6:49 AM CDT
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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A laboratory error incorrectly caused a recall announcement for a brand of salad greens, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said.

The products from lēf Farms are safe and the recall has been canceled, the department said in a news release Thursday.

The May 5 recall notice regarded a “potential” E. coli bacteria contamination of a specific lot of the company’s “Spice” packaged salad greens. When it heard the news, the Loudon-based hydroponics company voluntarily initiated a recall of potentially affected products, the department said.

The recall notice was directed at Hannaford and Market Basket supermarkets in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Further analysis determined “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,” the department said.

“I wish to apologize to lēf Farms, their customers and the public for this unfortunate event,” Division of Public Health Services Director Tricia Tilley said.

“While this situation is unprecedented, our dedicated staff will embrace all corrective actions to ensure it will not occur again,” she added.

The health and human services department said it is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to confirm the source of the contamination and will implement necessary protocol changes.

“We are relieved to confirm that this was merely a lab mistake, and our product was never at risk,” said Steve Platt, CEO of BrightFarms, the parent company of lēf Farms.