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The Minnesota Health Department has issued an alert, asking consumers to throw out packages of Dole lettuce mix that may be linked to an outbreak of E. coli in 11 people. The Washington Post reports that “the cited bags are Dole's Classic Romaine and American Blend salads with a use-by date of Sept. 23, 2005, and a production code beginning with B250. Also included is Dole's Greener Selection, with a use-by date of Sept. 22 and the same production code.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that 11 consumers ate one of three mixes that were bought from at least four Rainbow Foods stores in the Twin Cities area.

Dole released a statement saying it had not received reports from consumers of any illnesses, but is cooperating with the investigation.

The Post noted that bagged salad mixes have had an enormous impact both on supermarket sales and consumer consumption habits, and wrote that “even without the direct proof, this is the kind of news that food processors, retailers and consumers do not like to hear: A runaway hit product that is profitable and popular might have safety issues. How much the news will alter the balance of sales in the produce aisle remains unclear.”
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