When you buy a pack of salad mix, you expect an assortment of greens — a little romaine, maybe some arugula, or even some spinach. For two consumers in Florida, their packaged salads included something less green in color and definitely not vegetarian-friendly: a dead bat.
The two people had purchased the Organic Marketside Spring Mix package from the brand Fresh Express — a company that produces and packs salads to supermarkets around the nation — at a Walmart. The product was recalled on Saturday, according to the Food and Drug Administration, after the Mexican free-tailed bat was discovered in the salad.
The recall affects the five-ounce pack of Organic Marketside Spring Mix sold in clear containers. The products will have a production code of G089B19 and have a "best if used by" date of April 14. The recalled product was distributed exclusively in Walmart stores in the Southeastern parts of the United States and all mixes included in the recall have been removed from store shelves.
"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.
The bat was in a "deteriorated condition" when it was found in the prepackaged salad mix — a CDC spokesman told The New York Times that the creature was likely in the packet for "a number of days." While the CDC rabies lab attempted to uncover if the animal had a disease, they were unable to do so due to how decayed the remains were. Since the two consumers ate some of the salad and rabies could not be ruled out, Florida local and state health officials are assessing the status of the two customers.
"In this circumstance, the risk of rabies transmission is considered to be very low, but because it isn't zero, the two people who ate salad from the package that contained the bat were recommended to begin post-exposure rabies treatment," wrote the CDC. "Both people report being in good health and neither has any signs of rabies."
Those who have purchased the product are advised to dispose of it and are eligible for a refund. As for anxious salad-lovers nervous to buy a pack of greens, know that a handful of experts are in consensus that finding animals in bagged salads is incredibly rare.