A “public health alert” is being issued for caesar salads sold at Trader Joe’s stores in certain states because they may contain an undeclared allergen.
The issuance affects “Trader Joe’s Caesar Salad With White Chicken Meat and Creamy Caesar Dressing” because its dressing may contain egg, which is a known allergen, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The issue was discovered when a store informed the “producing establishment” that there seemed to be a mistake with the salad dressing packets included in the product.
“The dressing packets with the salad contain Sweet and Spicy Vinaigrette and not the Creamy Caesar Dressing,” noted the FSIS. “These dressing packets are unlabeled and contain egg, which is not declared on the finished product packaging.”
People who are allergic to eggs may experience symptoms such as rashes, breathing difficulty, watery eyes, vomiting or even anaphylaxis “within a short period of time” after consuming or even just touching eggs, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI).
This is why it’s important for people with egg allergies to be extra careful when reading labels. They should also be aware of the “hidden sources of egg products” like marshmallow, pretzel, marzipan and salad dressing, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In the case of the current public health alert, there have so far been “no confirmed reports” of adverse effects related to the consumption of the product.
The affected salads were produced on July 5 and shipped to Trader Joe’s stores in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the FSIS noted. They had the best by dates 7/11/22 and 7/12/22, the lot code GHNW 186-06 and the establishment number P-46987 in the USDA mark of inspection.
The product was packaged in 9-ounce plastic clamshell containers. Photos of the label are available here.
The agency did not issue a recall because the salads aren’t available for purchase anymore. However, they may still be in people’s refrigerators, so those who may have the affected products are being advised not to consume them. Instead, consumers should either throw them away or take them back to where were purchased.
“FSIS is issuing this public health alert to ensure that consumers with an allergy to eggs are aware that these products should not be consumed,” the agency noted.
Egg is one of the most common food allergens, the ACAAI said. It’s also one of the eight allergens whose presence in a product is required to be listed on the ingredients label “in clear language” in accordance with the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004.