Florida diners made a disturbing discovery when they cracked open a prepackaged salad: a dead bat.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says two people started eating the salad before noticing the decomposing winged mammal. The bat, which was found in a "deteriorated condition," was sent to a CDC lab to test for rabies as the manufacturer rushed to recall the batch of salads that were shipped exclusively to Walmart stores throughout the southeastern U.S.
Fresh Express issued a recall for the lot of its Organic Marketside Spring Mix, with a production code of G089B19 that had a best-if-used-by date of April 14. In a statement, the company said it worked quickly and closely with Walmart officials to remove the entire batch from store shelves and offered a full refund to anyone who bought one. The company said the problem only affected the one line of its products.
Possible distribution states for the recalled salad are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
"Fresh Express takes matters of food safety very seriously and rigorously complies with all food safety regulations including the proscribed Good Agricultural Practices," the company said in a statement.
Fresh Express urged anybody who bought that specific lot to throw it out. The CDC said people who had already eaten salad from that lot and found "animal material" in their greens should contact their local health department immediately. Otherwise, "people who have eaten the recalled salad and did not find animal material are not at risk and do not need to contact their health department."
The CDC is now working with the Florida Department of Health to determine whether the two people who ate some of the tainted salad are at risk. The CDC is checking for rabies, which can be found in bats, but said the two victims are doing fine.
"Both people report being in good health and neither has any signs of rabies," the CDC said in a statement.